Poe to Ceneco employees: Employment to NEPC not automatic

Senator Grace Poe leads the committee hearing on the franchise bill of Negros Electric and Power Corporation on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
Senator Grace Poe leads the committee hearing on the franchise bill of Negros Electric and Power Corporation on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. Contributed photo

Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Committee on Public Services, clarified that employees of Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) could not be absorbed automatically by Negros Electric and Power Corporation (Negros Power).

Poe made the statement during the committee hearing on the franchise bill of Negros Power on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

She believes there are employees of Ceneco who are excellent in their jobs and deserve to be absorbed, but there are also lazy employees. So, it will be unfair to the joint venture company if they hire them automatically.

"You have excellent and hard-working members, they deserve to be absorbed, they deserve to be employed but I’m sure you've also noticed employees who are not effective. That’s also not fair," Poe told the union.

"It's not automatic that since you are an employee, it's already forever. It's not like that," she said.

The senator also advocated that hiring of employees must be based on performance and not based on the age, gender, or appearance of the employee, "Kaya kapag sinabing lahat kukunin, lahat nang qualified dapat kunin. Wala sa age, wala sa gender, wala sa itsura but based on performance".

Poe said she believes that a joint venture company needs people who are working and are dedicated to their jobs to guarantee its success, "so employment is not a right; you also have to be able to fulfill your responsibilities."

She also assured the employees that the granting of the franchise would be beneficial to them, "we will all benefit with good service in your area. Do not be afraid that you will be left behind. You should be part of progress".

The Joint Venture Agreement of Ceneco and Primelectric/NEPC and the proposed franchise gives first preference to Ceneco employees in the hiring of the workforce of the new distribution utility for central Negros.

Negros Power President Roel Castro informed the senator that there are more than 250 employees of Ceneco who have already submitted their applications, and they are now in the process of hiring them.

In the hearing, Poe also emphasized the need for capitalization in a distribution utility service to support the progress of the franchise area.

She highlighted that electric cooperatives such as Ceneco can no longer provide the necessary expertise in developing areas, "You know development is different now. Before it's electrification. Now it's progress and development of our country. Unfortunately, cooperatives may not have the technical knowledge or the corporate competence to be able to supply the power needed in those areas."

The hearing on the legislative franchise application of Negros Power, among other electric cooperatives, aimed at ensuring accessible, affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity for Filipinos, Poe added.*


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