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Protest readied against Ceneco AGMA

BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr., Wennie Sancho, Rodolfo Song and Teddy Macainan (l-r)*

Member consumer-members (CMOs) of Central Negros Electric Cooperative spearheaded by Power Watch Negros Advocates will stage a silent protest against the holding of the 43rd Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of Ceneco tomorrow at its main office in Bacolod City.

Ceneco announced that the registration for its virtual 43rd AGMA will start as early as 6 a.m., while its keynote speaker will be Cabinet Secretary Karlos Alexei Nograles.

Power Watch secretary general  Wennie Sancho together with Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr.,  Alliance of Concerned  Transport in Negros Occidental (ACTION) chairperson Teddy Macainan and Utilities Consumers Association for Reform (UCARE) president Rodolfo Song have signed a position paper manifesting their vehement opposition against the holding of the AGMA, which they claimed is a brazen attempt to railroad the process to approve the agenda set forth by some members of the Ceneco Board of Directors (BOD) with a semblance of approval from the unsuspecting consumers of the power utility firm.

Sancho said the AGMA violates the basic principle of parliamentary procedure.  If Ceneco will railroad the amendment of its constitution, they will be filing appropriate charges in due time.

He said it is illegal and arbitrary because there is no quorum. A majority vote is normally required to adopt a motion or to elect to office.

When adopting a motion to rescind, to amend or to ratify something to be adopted, a vote of majority of the entire membership is required, he added.

AGMA NOT NEEDED

Sancho said there is no need for the AGMA to ratify the economic provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), particularly on wage increase and other benefits, to make it legal and binding, if the CBA between labor and management of Ceneco was already signed and concluded by both parties, all they have to do is to register it with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the region.

The decision to grant salary increases and other benefits for the union members lies in the hands of Ceneco management especially if there is a CBA. The consumers have no part in that decision. The Ceneco Union of Rational Employees (CURE) is the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of all rank-and-file employees of Ceneco, while the Ceneco management is the bargaining unit, he said.

“For us, to ratify the CBA, which is a contract between Ceneco management and CURE, would be an intrusion to their affairs and therefore illegal,” Sancho said.

“There is no law that requires us to do this prohibited action, otherwise we, the consumers will be carrying the burden of ratifying or validating all increases in the salaries and wages granted by the management to the union. Worse is if the amount of salary increases will be included or passed on to us in the form of additional charges in our electric bill,” he said.

Sancho said to ratify the CBA between labor and management of Ceneco is not within the purview of the CMOs of Ceneco. They are not authorized to ratify the CBA or any part of it. To ratify the agreement would be an abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

He suggested that Ceneco set another date for its AGMA and still continue with their raffle. But they should never amend the Constitution under the present circumstances which they believe is illegal and arbitrary and inimical to the interest of the consumers.

Macainan said Ceneco’s Constitution and bylaws does not recognize the holding of virtual meeting or conference, so in effect it is invalid to hold the AGMA. Its Constitution has not been amended since 1975.

He said Ceneco was able to gather about 16,000 signatures thru the different barangays in Bacolod City to hold the AGMA. It was supposed to be held at the SMX Convention Center but they were prohibited by the Inter-Agency Task Force due to health concerns.*

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