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PIA Press Release

ABRECO explains in Congress why no general assembly was convened

by Maritess Benas

Bangued, Abra (6 December) -- The Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO) management appeared before the House of Representatives for a Congressional Inquiry by the committee on cooperatives and development chaired by Congressman Jose Ping-ay last November 12, 2010.

The appearance was necessary in response to House Resolution No. 423 filed by Abra's Lone Congressional Representative Ma. Jocelyn V. Bernos in Congress requesting the committee on cooperatives to conduct an investigation why a general assemble meeting had not been convened for the past three years. Because of this, there had been no election for the members of the Board of Directors (BOD) and the alleged abuse of authority of the BOD in choosing their present general manager in ABRECO.

As a result of the inquiry, Ping-ay directed the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) to monitor ABRECO's conduct of a general assembly meeting.

Bernos explained the importance of convening a regular general assembly meeting in order to present the current status of the coop to the member-consumers. This way, the members could air their concerns and suggestions to improve the services of the coop and that the BOD could act on the members' concerns.

In addition, Bernos said, that a general assembly meeting is needed to allow the member-consumers to choose the BOD members as provided for in Republic Act No. 9520 otherwise known as the Cooperative Code of the Philippines. RA 9520 provides for a two-year term of office of BOD members.

In response to the allegations raised by Bernos, the BOD ABRECO headed by its president, David Guzman, explained that ABRECO management is in a transition period pending their registration with the CDA. The ABRECO used to be registered with the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

Mr. Loreto Seares, Jr., ABRECO General Manager(GM) clarified that since March 2007, they were given two years to prepare the requirements its registration with the CDA. This includes the formulation of the by-laws which affected the appointment of the GM which is supposed to be the basis of the selection and appointment of a GM.

Seares further explained that with the additional grace period of one year given by the CDA for ABRECO to convene a general assembly meeting, it was planned that this be held last March 2010, but because of the amended Cooperative Code of 2009, modifications in the requirements were again made and these have to be complied with by the coop and needed more time to work out on them.

Despite all these delays, however, ABRECO management assured that a general assembly meeting be convened in March next year in order to present the coop by-laws for ratification by the member-consumers. The by-laws if ratified will serve as the basis in electing the members of the BOD in each district.

The GM said, "we will conduct the general assembly meeting not because the issue had been raised in Congress but rather in compliance with the policy of the CDA." (PIA-Abra) [top]

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