• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The Visayas Bishop’s Conference of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente expressed solidarity with the member-consumer-owner (MCO) and employees of Central Negros Electric Cooperative Inc. in condemning the unilateral and abusive acts of the Board of Directors in entering into an illegal and onerous joint venture agreement (JVA) with Prime-electric and Negros Electric Power Corporation (NEPC), for various reasons.
In a statement of solidarity dated August 18 signed by Ret. Rev. Alger Loyao Sr., chair of the Visayas Bishop’s Diocese of Iloilo and Cebu, the member of the VBC-IFI cited that the JVA was signed and entered into by Ceneco BOD and Primelectric NEPC, without the consent and approval of the MCO’s during the Annual General Assembly (AGMA) on May 28.
Other reasons they cited is that the JVA will result in the displacement of Ceneco employees and it violates their right to security of tenure, as guaranteed under the Labor Code of the Philippines.
Ceneco is a non-stock, non-profit public distribution utility and therefore, imbued with public interest. Allowing a private corporation to operate and manage this public utility would run counter to the constitutional guarantee of promoting cooperatives as instruments of social justice, they said.
The bishops said Ceneco is not an ailing or losing cooperative as no less than announced by NEA Administrator Antonio Almeda and was recently given Certificate of Recognition as one of the most active and viable electric cooperatives.*