BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan signed city council Resolution No. 101 series of 2019 earnestly requesting the Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc. (BENECO) through the Board of Directors to maintain a status quo on its management and maintenance of the city’s streetlights.
In the resolution authored by all the city council members, the body said that with BENECO’s decision to return the management of the streetlights, the city was caught off-guard and is now in an “unprecedented situation” as no fund was allocated for said purpose.
“Since the transition, the different barangays in the city have been barged with complaints and criticisms from their constituents pertaining to repair and maintenance of streetlights,” the body noted.
As a result, numerous busted streetlights have remained unattended in the barangays affecting their peace and order situations.
The body said that maintaining a status quo would allow the city time to resolve concerns like the fast-tracking of the bidding process for the conversion of the streetlights into Light Emitting Diode type.
“(The city government and the barangays) are one in yearning and plea to BENECO to consider status quo the management and maintenance of streetlights in the City of Baguio,” the resolution noted.
The BENECO through Board Resolution No. 2018-152 dated Dec. 5, 2018 approved the recommendation of the BENECO management under General Manager Gerardo Verzosa for the filing in court of the rescission proceedings for the contract of BENECO and the City Government of Baguio for the operation and maintenance of streetlights of the city.
The board said the city has been given more than enough time to convert the installed high pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights to the LED lamps.
They stressed that BENECO had spent P25 million as of September 2018 for the operation and maintenance of the streetlights.
“By turning over the maintenance and operation of streetlights to the City of Baguio, BENECO can now concentrate its resources and manpower to further improve its distribution system to continue providing quality service and competitive power cost to its increasing number of member-consumer-owners while pursuing other ventures that will add value to its present operations,” the board noted.
City Engineer Olpindo whose office had managed the streetlights prior to the city-BENECO contract earlier admitted that the city is not prepared to assume the task this year as there was no budget allocated for said purpose.
He said a possible course of action will be the fast-tracking of the long-delayed public-private partnership venture for the LED conversion for implementation as soon as possible./Aileen P. Refuerzo