By Alex P. Vidal
“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”— Roger Ebert
IN the aftermath of any agonizing crisis, the underlying concern should be how to protect the Ilonggos, not how to punish and banish any erring agency.
It should be: 1. Solution; 2. Protection; and 3. Prevention. Admonition and investigation, yes, but next should be instant action and instant results!
We thought the eagerness of some politicians to punish and, to some extent, banish the badly clobbered National Grid Corporation of the Philippine (NGCP) weren’t the wise and urgent solutions to normalize and stabilize the power supply in Panay Island and its environs.
Take for instance the “solution” being offered by Senate energy committee chair Raffy Tulfo: “Enough is enough. “Dapat talaga tanggalan na ng prangkisa itong NGCP ng sa ganun ay hindi na makapang-perwisyo.”
(Enough is enough. NGCP should be stripped of its franchise so it cannot cause inconvenience again.)
Even if the higher ups succeed in wresting away NGCP’s franchise anytime this month, the lingering question will continue to badger them: “What is the guarantee that the post-New Year 2024 massive power outage in Panay, Guimaras, and portions of Negros will not happen again?”
“Dapat talaga tanggalan…” is an emotional outburst and emotions can’t solve problems. They aren’t solutions.
For being “lenient” toward NGCP’s shortcomings, Tulfo also criticized the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) emphasizing the need for these organizations to be more assertive in holding NGCP accountable.
President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., on the other hand, lectured NGCP like a schoolteacher chiding a pupil: “Accountability lies with the NGCP. They are tasked with grid stability. Stability involves proactive responses to breakdowns and unexpected events – a duty that NGCP unfortunately has not fulfilled adequately.”
Yes po, nandoon na tayo, Mr. President. Now that it has been supposedly calculated that NGCP was remiss of its duties and responsibilities during the turbulent power outages, the nagging question remains that after the blockbuster congressional hearings what are the assurances the blackouts won’t occur anew this year or in the years thereafter?
Senate committee on energy vice chair, Sherwin Gatchalian, wanted to impose penalties on the NGCP that correspond to the economic losses experienced in the affected regions.
His proposal was in response to ERC chair Monalisa Dimalanta’s idea that the maximum penalty ERC could impose on NGCP for the blackout was P50 million, a sum considered inadequate compared to the billions in economic losses.
We can penalize the rich NGCP with billions of pesos and even empty its vaults, but, as of this writing, no one—not from the both the Upper and Lower chambers of Congress, from the Office of the President, and other satellite energy offices—has told or assured the Ilonggos their nightmares are now the things of the past.
As long as nobody from the higher authority will offer the magic solution for the lingering fiasco in the power industry, the Ilonggos will have no peace of mind. Businesses will operate under a Sword of Damocles.
The feared economic loses might even worsen if there will be no concrete solution in sight. Politicians will come and go, but the power crisis—the ineptitude and negligence—will stay.
For the meantime, let’s brace for the possibility that another round of power outage might strike at any moment, God forbid.
MIDLIFE SUICIDE MORE COMMON. Rates are increasing among men and women ages 40 to 64. The current economic malaise could be a contributing factor. Warning signs: Acting highly pessimistic, hopeless or angry, increasing alcohol or drug use, making impulsive, out-of-character decisions, getting rid of previously prized possessions, talking about wanting to die, withdrawing from friends, family and society, mood changes.
DON’T LET OUR DOGS EAT THIS! Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. The toxic ingredient is unclear, but it is currently being studied in the veterinary community (a fungus is suspected). The number of grapes or raisins that may cause kidney failure is not exactly known, so any amount could potentially be dangerous.
MENINGITIS VACCINE FOR KIDS BENEFITS THE ELDERLY, TOO. Since the meningitis vaccine was introduced in 2000 for children ages two months to two years, not only have meningitis cases declined by 64 percent among children, they also have dropped by 54 percent among people 65 and older. With fewer children spreading germs, fewer adults are getting the disease.
BREAST-FEEDING LOWERS BREAST CANCER RISK before menopause for women with a family history of the disease. The duration of breast-feeding does not seem to matter. The lower risk applies only to breast cancer before menopause and only to women with a first-degree relative with breast cancer, says Dr. Alison M. Stuebe of the University of North Carolina.
SEXUAL BEHAVIOR LAWS. The United States has more laws governing sexual behavior than all of the European nations combined. The only legally sanctioned sexual act in the U.S. is private, heterosexual intercourse between married adults.
BESTIALITY. During the Middle Ages, if you were guilty of bestiality, you would be burned at the stake along with the other party to your crime.
CHOCOLATE. The same chemical responsible for the ecstatic highs of love and sexual attraction, phenylethylamine, is also found in chocolate.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)