Gonzales: P250,000/month is ‘immoral’
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Diocese of Bacolod Social Action Center (SAC), alongside Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) consumer-members and various local groups, plan to file a protest letter to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) regarding the proposed pay raise for Ceneco General-Manager Sulpicio Lagarde, Jr., who could see his monthly salary jump from P120,000 to P250,000.
According to Ceneco Board resolution No. 12218, which is still subject to NEA approval, Lagarde was approved for retirement and would receive a P250,000 monthly salary, effective October 1, along with a 300 percent multiplier on his retirement computation. SAC head, Rev. Fr. Chris Gonzales, called it “immoral” and “irregular,” pointing out Ceneco consumer-members would be forced to shoulder the costs of the increased wages and retirement benefits.
SAC legal counsel Vicente Petierre III said a salary increase days before retirement is “illegal.”
He also cited a 2015 NEA memorandum that said increases to a general manager’s salary may be recommended, but only up to P125,055 a month.
According to former Ceneco director, Atty. Arnel Lapore, the salary increase was recommended under the condition Lagarde enroll in the optional retirement plan, as outlined in NEA Memorandum No. 2018-003.
The optional plan takes into account the number of years served with the cooperative, a corresponding multiplier, and an additional amount for “extraordinary performance.”
The policy also notes, retirement benefits include “the latest basic salary approved by the administrator, plus the prescribed monthly representation allowance.”
With regard to the matter, Lagarde argued, “The resolution was just a recommendation,” but added, he would like a salary similar to those at South Cotabato and Batangas electric cooperatives, who are paid P200,000 a month.
He also noted, Ceneco is able to implement NEA salary scales without approval by the general membership./DGB, WDJ