BBM’s ‘lumang tugtugin’

By Herbert Vego

WHETHER they vote “as one” or separately no longer matters. The Senate and the House of Representatives appear to be unanimous in convening themselves as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) on the pretext of amending the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Both chambers of Congress have expressed willingness to abide by the wish of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who recently said in a speech before the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), “This administration’s position in introducing reforms for the Constitution extends to economic matters alone, for those strategically aimed at boosting our economy. Nothing more.”

In an earlier GMA-TV interview, however, he had expressed willingness to open discussions on political provisions like changing term limits of elected officials, but “later on.”

Thus, we can’t rely on the assurances of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez that only “economic reforms” would occupy the Cha-cha agenda, since it would be the only opportune time for them to undo their re-election limits.

The selfish nature of our legislators is no longer debatable. As this corner has repeatedly cited, they have failed to heed Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 that states, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

Instead of defining an anti-dynasty law by clothing it with “implementing rules and regulations,” Congress has voted down all bills for that purpose, thus boosting political dynasties.

Anyway, assuming that our legislators are as interested as Marcos in attracting foreign investments, are there grounds for that optimism?

If that were so, the President should have done it himself through his foreign travels — now counting 19 trips to 14 countries – which have attracted more investment pledges than actualities. By the time this column comes out, he must have left for a two-day visit (Feb. 28-29) to Australia to address the Australian Parliament.

Already, to cite an observation by former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the Philippines has one of the most liberal foreign investment laws in Asia. The Public Services Act has allowed 100 percent foreign ownership in telecommunications, air, sea, and land transportation except public utility vehicles and airports.



THURSDAY (Feb. 29) will mark the exact fourth anniversary of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) as a distribution utility (DU) in Iloilo City. It was on this leap-year date when the firm switched on, replacing the previous franchisee. Under the dynamic leadership of  President/CEO Roel Z. Castro, it has left no stone unturned in its modernization program.

Another step in the right direction is the participation of Engr. Bailey del Castillo, MORE Power vice-president for network development, in an on-going international convention (Feb. 26-29) for DUs at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida USA.

Showcased in this gathering is the biggest exhibition of high-tech electronics and electrical equipment sponsored by Distributech International.

In a conversation with this writer last Thursday, Del Castillo said he looked forward to acquiring samples of “intelligent” electric meters that could upgrade what are in use in the Philippines today.

“Among those to be displayed,” he said, “are self-reading electric meters.”

Automatic meter reading (AMR) is the technology of automatically collecting real-time consumption from metering devices to a central database for billing.

Doubting Thomases wary of inaccurate meter reading would worry no more.



THE current year 2024 is a leap year, which comes every four years when the month of February ends on the 29th instead of 28th. The joke is that people born on Feb. 29 age slower.

Strange as it seems, in my old age of 74, I have not yet met a person born on Feb. 29.  So, should I meet one today, I would gladly sponsor a birthday meal for him/her tomorrow.

Why does February in a leap year count 29 days instead of 28? The simple explanation is that adding one extra day in the calendar compensates for the fact that a period of 365 days is shorter than a tropical year by almost six hours. Hence, four six-hours equals 24 hours or one extra day.

Calendars from Julian to Gregorian versions have evolved in accordance with this belief.