As NEA picks coop trouble shooter, Celso asks, don’t let ties affect probe PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 January 2011 11:54

Mayor Celso Lobregat has asked Zamcelco's newly-designated project supervisor to strictly maintain impartiality and fairness and not allow ties or relationship get in the way of the ongoing probe or in the management of the cooperative itself.
Jesus Castro, former general manager of Zamsureco II which covers some areas under Zamboanga City specifically Vitali, Tictapul and the outlying barangays, has been designated Zamcelco’s project supervisor effective December 30 by the National Electrification which is currently investigating alleged irregularities in the operation of the cooperative.
NEA office order 2010-142 specifies Castro’s functions as the following: oversee the operations and management of Zamcelco to ensure efficient delivery of services to member-consumers and to countersign checks, withdrawal slips and other transactions to ensure the best interest of the consumers.
Castro’s designation is pursuant to NEA’s supervisory powers provided under Presidential decree 269 as amended by PD 1645. Castro’s contract with NEA expires June 30, 2011but he is not a part of the audit committee and probe team.
“Being a former general manager of Zamsureco, I am sure he has acquaintances with officials of Zamcelco, so I said with the situation on hand, with the gravity of the situation and the investigation going on, can you assure me that this will not affect the investigation and your being the project supervisor?” Mayor Lobregat told media men after meeting Castro one-on-one at the City Hall conference room afternoon of December 30.
Castro, he said has assured him that he will not let ties or relationships get in the way of the investigation or in the management of Zamcelco itself.
“I think we have to start from there,” the mayor said explaining that it is the very reason why he asked NEA administrator Edith Bueno to direct the designated project supervisor to see him in City Hall after his initial meeting with the Zamcelco management and board. “Coming to City Hall will allow us to clear things and expectations will be leveled off”.
Castro in his courtesy visit to City Hall Dec. 30 was accompanied by Nora Rivera, NEA management division manager.
The following day, December 31, Mayor Lobregat initiated a meeting between Castro and the different stakeholders in the city at City Hall where leaders of various groups specifically the consumers, business, Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Zamboanga including Archbishop Romulo Valles were given opportunity to personally express their concerns, issues, apprehensions, suggestions and recommendations to the designated project supervisor.
With Castro’s designation, Zamcelco general manager Reinerio Ramos and the members of the Board of Directors will continue to perform their duties as mandated but the project supervisor will oversee the day to day management of Zamcelco and to make sure that all financial transactions pass through him like signing of checks, vouchers and others, according to the mayor.
As the person who requested for the conduct of the coop audit by the NEA, Mayor Lobregat has emphasized that he wants a fair, honest to goodness and impartial investigation where due process will be strictly followed.
Meanwhile, Castro in an interview with City Hall reporters assured anew that his relationship with some Zamcelco directors and management will not affect his supervision of the coop operation. “I promise you that I will do my best and as president of the Regional electric cooperatives during the last 15 years overseeing 90 cooperatives, I know how to discipline directors and managers in our region’.
He said he has read all the reports and seen some lapses in the operation and that he is ready to institute measures to strengthen and improve Zamcelco operation and service to the member consumers.
Castro in the same interview said that of the total 37 years he devoted to the electric cooperative service, 10 years were served in the NEA either as technical assistant or project supervisor of various cooperatives from Basilan to Jolo. He also was designated project supervisor of Zamcelco during the time then general manager Genaro Cada.
He said he has committed to Mayor Lobregat and to the constituents of Zamboanga to bring back Zamcelco old glory and upgrade it to Category A to A+. -- Sheila Covarrubias)