A P50-M ‘per violation’ fine not enough

By Alex P. Vidal

“Penalties are like the lottery and you miss them when luck is not on your side.”—Marcelo

AT this early, without prejudice to the House of Representatives Committee on Energy inquiry on the recent widespread Panay and Guimaras blackouts set on January 11, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has hinted possible fines and penalties to be imposed on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and other entities responsible for the horrific blackouts would be determined at a maximum of P50 million per violation, upon completion of the investigation.

ERC chair Monalisa Dimalanta said the investigation would be completed within six to eight weeks.

With damages to the economy in Panay and Guimaras reportedly running to hundreds of millions of pesos during the blackouts, the P50 million “per violation” fine wouldn’t be enough to compensate for the terrible economic havoc.

NGCP has been getting all the brickbats for being the “main actor” or the “system operator”; the ERC, as well as no less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, had entirely placed the blame on NGCP.

The NGCP, however, was not the only entity that could be held accountable for the incident but also the operators of the tripped power plants, according to Dimalanta as reported.

The massive power outage that hit Panay Island, Guimaras, and other parts of Negros, was reportedly due to multiple tripping of the island’s power plants.


We were traveling from a delivery mission of balikbayan boxes in the Upper East Manhattan going Astoria in Queens when winter storm arrived in the Big Apple at around 2:51 in the afternoon January 6, Saturday.

It started with a drizzle and developed into a sleet, the name given to the precipitation of snow and water mixed together.

The winter storm late at night produced up to a foot of snow in areas north of New York City starting late Saturday, and continuing through January 7, Sunday.

Most locations in the Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier, Capital, Central New York, and Finger Lakes regions received mostly snow from the weather system, while some places in the NYC Metro area reportedly received up to two inches of rain, as well as a wintry mix of snow and sleet through Sunday afternoon.

The worst weather conditions started late Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning for some locations.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers to continue to track the storm over the weekend and make plans now to ensure their safety throughout the storm, including adjusting travel plans if necessary and preparing for possible power outages.

“New Yorkers are no strangers to snow, but it’s always important to be prepared and to know how to safely handle incoming weather,” Governor Hochul said. “I urge everyone to pay attention to their local forecast and to plan travel accordingly.”

Snow totals reportedly reached up to a foot in the Mid-Hudson and Capital Regions with potentially higher totals in parts of the Catskills. Approximately 6-8” of snow was expected for eastern parts of the Southern Tier and parts of the Mohawk Valley, and 2-6” of snow was predicted to fall in Central NY, Finger Lakes, and parts of the North

Country. Peak snowfall rates reportedly reached 1-2” per hour during the overnight Saturday into Sunday.


NAKED EXERCISE. The word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Greek word gymnazein which means to exercise naked, which often was done in ancient Greece.

TAI CHI HELPS STROKE VICTIMS. 136 adults who had suffered a stroke more than six months earlier took three months of weekly classes in the Chinese movement practice tai chi or a general exercise regimen that included breathing techniques and stretching. The tai chi group outperformed the other group in tests that involved balance.

SAVING OUR NATURE. The dirty work. When we rent glasses for our next party, let’s try to find a hire company that takes them back dirty and washes them. They will probably be washing in bulk so it will be more energy efficient than we doing it.

SAVING OUR PLANET.  Let’s push away pest. The smell of camomile deters most small flies. Let’s make our own pesticide by infusing camomile flowers in hot water for ten minutes. Spray on plants to prevent pests alighting.

IN BED TOGETHER. The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime-time television were Fred and Wilma Flinstone.

POTASSIUM PROMOTES HEARTH HEALTH. In a study of 2,974 men and women, those with the highest potassium-to-sodium ratios in theor urine were 50% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those with the lowest ratios. Theory: Combining a higher intake of potassium with a lower intake of sodium seems to be more effective than either alone.

VERTIGO LINKED TO OSTEOPOROSIS. In a study of 441 men and women, those with osteoporosis were three times more likely to have benign positional vertigo (BPV), an inner ear disorder that causes dizziness, than those with normal bone density.

A SINGLE STOOL TEST CAN DETECT CANCERS of the digestive tract. Currently, routine screening is done only on the colon–which means that many pancreatic, stomach, gallbladder and other gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are discovered only at an advanced stage.

HOT FLASHY REMEDY. When 454 postmenopausal women who suffered from moderate to severe hot flashes used estradiol (Evamist)–a spray-on product containing estrogen–or a placebo spray for 12 weeks, the estradiol group had an average of eight fewer hot flashes per day, compared with an average of four fewer hot flashes daily for the placebo group.

WARDROBE. The American company Unilever asked 1,000 women how long they would give up sex in exchange for a wardrobe full of new clothes? The majority said 15 months.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)