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Bacolod City, PhilippinesFriday, April 24, 2009
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with Primo Esleyer

Forget ‘transactions’

Ceneco president Edward Gasambelo has launched his “Abanico (fan) campaign” to save energy.  He is giving out a less costly native fan.

Join it.  It is fun.  You save energy by not using electricity which is getting more costly now.  An electric fan costs one peso per hour in electricity.  An air conditioning unit costs much more.

And you exercise your arm with the native fan.

He has also given many advisories to consumers on how to save electricity.  He said that because of weather changes hot weather with intermittent rains and wind disturbances Ceneco line troubles can happen to its distribution system.

Among these, he said, are loose connections and damages to the transformers and oil insulated electrical equipment.

So, in case of a power outage and it is hot, use the native fan.

* * *

I saw Gasambelo a few days ago in his office and I am happy he is wielding a strong hand. We need that, I said. Ceneco has been the whipping boy of almost everyone.  It’s time its president stands up and, the first in the agenda, is to whip into line the employees who intrude into the conflicts in the board in the hope of asserting power.

The board must be left to quarrel among themselves. We must guard against a board that sings together to the single beat of a politician.

As long as there is conflict in the Ceneco board, we can sleep a little more soundly.  And this is better done without the intrusion of partisan politics.  We have asked our Ceneco director Zenaida Lacson, herself an activist who staged rallies before for the consumers, to stand up for the consumers and don’t allow politicians to poke their noses into Ceneco.

And we also met with many barangay captains of District 3 under Mrs. Lacson that if needed, they provide warm bodies for a rally at Ceneco.

Ceneco office is in the middle of District 3.  No need to pay for the jeepney fare of the rallyists.  And they can easily gather hundreds if the cause is for the welfare of consumers.

* * *

I have always written that in the top level of management two executives impressed me, retired general manager Henry Sia and legal counsel Enrique Tabino.

Henry Sia, an electrical engineer had survived many administrations but none succeeded to dent his integrity. With the many charges of foolishness raised against Ceneco officials in the past, Henry Sia’s name remained clean and untainted.

Same thing can be said of Ike Tabino.  He is now ready to retire and, like Henry Sia, spent the best years of his life at Ceneco.

I like Ike.  If he saw something against his principle, he stood his ground, even to the point of challenging the Ceneco officials to fire him.  So that he could demand a big payment.  None ever called his dare.

The last was last month’s election.  Former Ceneco president Ed Guillem filed a temporary restraining order with the court to postpone the election in District 3 because of what he said was his pending case with the Court of Appeals when NEA dismissed him.

Then Ceneco president Vic Sabornay did not inform Tabino of the TRO and went to the court himself arguing in favor of the TRO.  It was good Tabino was informed and went there himself.

Tabino told the court, he was the legal counsel and would represent Ceneco and opposed the TRO.  Sabornay wanted to delay the election knowing that the candidates who advocated for lighting up the government center would win.  Sabornay opposed the lighting of the Center.

The court dismissed the TRO.  Then Vic again worked for the postponement of the annual general membership assembly to sue for time.  He failed to stop it.

Now the conflict between Gasambelo and Sabornay sizzles.  Let them fight.  Let everybody expose everybody.  Gasambelo told me he asked directors from Silay and Bago to apologize to their constituents why did they opt to have electricity from First Farmers sold to Cebu and not to Ceneco?  If not, he said, he would ask the constituents to discipline them. He told me he suspended Sabornay.

It’s good Gasambelo and Bobby Montelibano with Ike Tabino saved the situation by having First Farmers supply its excess electricity to Ceneco and not to Cebu.

* * *

Gasambelo has vowed to improve Ceneco.  He keeps on researching on it.  He showed me his research on a need for a transforming leader.

He is reading the book of James McGregor Burns “Transforming Leadership:  A New Pursuit of Happiness.”  This is also the advocacy of Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno.

McGregor Burns postulated two kinds of leadership, transactional and transformational.  He cited cases of Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton.  They transformed things.

I told Ed Gasambelo, be a transformational leader.  I want to tell the other leaders also, forget the “transactions.” Go for transformation.*



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