Largely unnoticed by so-called member-consumer-owners of the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) was the announcement that it would be conducting regular and special elections for district representatives in the board of directors.
Since 2018, the capital town of Virac, which accounts for the largest load in the island grid as well as the largest number of consumers, has not been represented in the FICELCO board.
Two other districts – Baras-Gigmoto and San Andres – have remained unrepresented since 2020 when their then directors had to leave their posts upon reaching the age of 70.
This left just four people, a bare majority, deciding policies that certainly affect the capability and reliability of power delivered to the 57,000 MCOs by the cooperative and its lone power supplier.
The terms of that same four directors were supposed to end in 2019 and 2020 if not for the pandemic that led to the deferment of the district elections nationwide as well as the Annual General Membership Meeting for two years now.
In pre-pandemic years, the FICELCO management made sure the public knew at least 20 days before any election.
But apparently, somebody forgot to have the notice published for the required period before the district election in San Miguel was held last Saturday, June 18, 2022.
It appeared in this paper on its June 15 issue but the management most likely was satisfied by the posting of the announcement at the municipal bulletin board in San Miguel and on its Facebook account.
Probably the same was done for the scheduled election this weekend, June 25, in Baras, and next week in San Andres on July 2.
FICELCO could have done better than that, as it could have kept some qualified MCOs from considering a run for the directorships in their districts.
But this is a minor matter.
What needs to change is the way the FICELCO management and board conducts the Annual General Membership Meeting (AGMM).
Note that in its FB announcements on the qualifications of a candidate for director, the would-be director should have attended at least two AGMMs from 2017 to 2021.
There were no AGMMs in 2020 and 2021, so why require two? Perhaps the board or the National Electrification Administration (NEA) should have required just one, instead of the two demanded by the guidelines, since the deferment of the AGMM was due to the pandemic.
For several years now, ever since previous bright minds in the FICELCO board decided to rotate the AGMM among the seven districts, many member-consumer-owners genuinely concerned by the unreliable service they receive had been discouraged by the distance they have to travel from their towns to the venue across the island.
According to insiders, the AGMM provides an opportunity for the director of the host district to corner the catering contract for feeding at least 3,000 MCOs, majority of which just came for the free food and the chance to win raffle prizes solicited from business establishments and politicians.
Assuming the new board comes to its senses and approves the holding of the AGMM in Virac where the MCO would not only attend the meeting but also shop and dine, there is one more thing to do, but on a larger scale.
Why not petition NEA to amend the rules to allow more representation of each district based on its number of member-consumer-owners?
It is unjust and unfair that Virac, with a third of the total membership, is represented by only one director.
On the other hand, District VI (Viga-Panganiban-Bagamanoc) is also represented by one director although it has three times the number of MCOs than District IV (San Miguel).
Clearly, there is a need for a more equitable district representation, aside from doing away with the rotating AGMM venue.
Has attended at least two Annual General Membership Meeting (AGMM) from 2017-2021.
To all member-consumer-owners who are interested to run as a FICELCO Board of Director, please be informed that there will be a REGULAR and SPECIAL Elections in District I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII this coming June and July 2022.
Here are the QUALIFICATIONS and DISQUALIFICATIONS:
📍 Filipino citizen.
📍 Graduate of a four (4)-year course.
📍 Between 21-70 years old on the date of election.
📍 With good moral character.
📍 Member of good standing for the last three (3) months immediately preceding the election.
📍 Resident of the district to represent for at least two (2) years.
📍 Has attended at least two Annual General Membership Meeting (AGMM) from 2017-2021.
📍 Does not hold, nor the spouse any public office.
📍 Has not been, or his or her spouse, a candidate in the last preceding local or national elections.
📍 Has not been convicted by final judgement of a crime involving moral turpitude;
📍 Has not been terminated for cause from public office or private employment;
📍 Has no relation to any member of electric cooperative board of directors, general manager, and department managers within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity of affinity.
📍 Not employed by or financially interested in competing enterprise or a business selling electric energy or supplies to the cooperative.
𝘗𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 26-𝘣 𝘰𝘧 𝘗𝘋 269, 𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘙.𝘈. 10531, 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘰𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘋𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘖𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘯 𝘌𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘊𝘰𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘪𝘧:
- Such person or his or her spouse holds any public office, for the purpose of disqualification, a person holding an elective position or an appointive position with salary grade of sixteen (SG 16) or higher or its equivalent shall not be eligible to be elected as member of the Board of Directors or Officers of an EC;
- Such person or his or her spouse has been a candidate in the last preceding local or national elections;
- Such person has been convicted by final judgement of a crime involving moral turpitude;
- Such person has been terminated from public office/government employment or private employment for just cause as defined in Article 282 of the labor code. (For this purpose, termination from public office shall mean removal);
- Such person is related within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any member of the EC Board of Directors, General Manager, Department Manager, NEA-appointed Project Supervisor (PS) or Acting General Manager (AGM) and its equivalent or higher position;
- Such person is employed by has financial interest in competing enterprise or a business selling electric energy or electrical hardware to the cooperative or doing business with the EC including, but not limited to, the use or rental of poles. (For this purpose, “doing business” shall refer to the transactions related not only to the core or main line of business of the EC, but also those which in any way affect the management and operation of the EC.);
- Incumbent GM and employees of electric cooperatives are not allowed to run as member of the board of another cooperative; and
- The disqualification of one of the spouse shall mean the disqualification of the other.