Napocor contests P60-b settlement

Published by rudy Date posted on September 8, 2014

State-owned National Power Corp. said Monday it will appeal the order of the Supreme Court to settle P60.2 billion worth of backwages of former employees, saying it will affect the company’s finances and operation.

Napocor also contested the P60.2-billion figure and the number of employees who should receive the backwages and wage adjustments. It said it would seek clarification of the settlement, along with Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.

Napocor employees filed a class suit against the government corporation in 2002, which the Supreme Court upheld.

The third division of the Supreme Court asked Napocor and PSALM to settle the back wages and wage adjustments of Napocor’s retrenched employees in 2001 amounting to P60.2 billion.

Napocor president Ma. Gladys Sta. Rita said the issue started with the restructuring of the electricity industry and the implementation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Sta. Rita said based on Napocor’s computation, the back wages and other adjustments, considering the interest rate and the Commission on Audit’s findings “is much lesser than P60.2 billion.”

Napocor said the total number of employees entitled to receive payments should also be verified, as the 8,000 figure was inaccurate.

Under Epiera Law, thousands of Napocor employees were separated from service through National Power Board Resolutions No. 2002-124 and No. 2002-125. The employees were paid with separation benefits equivalent to 1.5 months of salary per year of service, with majority of them rehired by Napocor, National Transmission Corp. and PSALM.

Only about 1,763 were not reinstated, according to Napocor.

Employees who were not rehired included members of the Drivers and Mechanics Association, who contested and filed a case before the court, questioning the board’s resolutions.

Napocor said its primary mandate of missionary electrification would be affected if assets would be used to settle the claims. It currently operates 297 Small Power Utilities Group plants and provides electricity to 770,000 households in 207 municipalities across 35 provinces in the country or roughly 4,620,000 Filipinos.

The high court declared the Napocor board resolutions void in 2006 on the ground that department secretaries who were members of the Napocor could delegate their duties to their official alternates. –Alena Mae S. Flores, Manila Standard Today

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