Iloilo blackout threat: A game of musical chairs

By Alex P. Vidal

“Without electricity, the air would rot.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

WE are confident the Department of Energy (DoE) is on top of the situation to ensure that the final stages of the Dinagyang Festival 2024 this week won’t be sabotaged by veiled threats of a possible power outage owing to the “precautionary” announcement made recently by the country’s favorite whipping boy, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

The national government should not and cannot abandon the Ilonggos during their most important and emotional moments while celebrating the festival’s major events.

The atmosphere this week calls for a festive, relaxed, and serene moments as the venerated fluvial parade, among other most valued and sacred programs are scheduled to unravel.

Joy, hope, happiness, stability; not fear, panic, and uncertainty.

The last thing that will happen is to interrupt the proceedings and all the other remaining activities before and during the festival highlights on January 27 and 28.

There should be no place for the game of the musical chairs during the big cultural and religious festival in Iloilo City, which is being monitored by people from all over the world.

It will be instant Armageddon if NGCP and other authorized players in the country’s power industry will uncork—or fail to prevent the opening of—a pandora box that will result in massive blackout. God forbid.

It will be difficult for the Ilonggos to forgive and forget.


This was NGCP’s advisory on January 17, 2024 that made many blood pressures to shoot up:

Unscheduled power interruption in Negros and Panay sub-grid at 6:48PM due to the unplanned outage of PEDC Unit 3 (121.11MW) at 6:44PM.

The unresolved internal issues of the remaining major power plants (PEDC Units 1 and 2, and PCPC) that precipitated the January 2 incident, qualify as a significant threat to system security following a credible N-1 event, and justifies manual intervention by the System Operator NGCP under Philippine Grid Code Section

In order to preserve the integrity of the transmission system, NGCP implemented manual load dropping. Power in affected electric cooperatives/distribution utilities have already been restored as of 7:07PM.

However, following DOE and ERC instructions, another MLD may be implemented in the event of the tripping of another large plant in the Panay sub-grid.

The DoE was quick to assure the public on January 20 there would be stable power supply in Panay despite this advisory from the NGCP of a possible outage due to “unresolved internal issues” of a power plant supplying electricity to the area.

DoE Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan said in a media forum NGCP’s advisory was just a precautionary measure and should not cause alarm.


As of this writing, winter storm continued to batter some areas in the East Coast. We have been advised to prepare and defend ourselves from possible spread of flu virus.

Not all of my friends have flu vaccines thus, to help avoid the flu virus, there are a number of things for us to do, as emphasized by health authorities here.

First and foremost, anyone can still get the flu vaccination. While some people who get vaccinated may still get sick, the flu vaccination prevents millions of influenza illnesses every season, according to health authorities.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended getting vaccinated every year as the best protection against catching the flu.

However, we have been warned not to rely on the vaccination alone when it comes to avoiding the flu virus.

There are several other things to do in order to keep ourselves as protected as possible:

—We must keep our hands clean by washing them regularly, especially if we have been out in a public place where there is likely to be a multitude of germs.

—We must disinfect our home by ensuring we’re properly disinfecting, regularly spraying and wiping the surfaces with disinfectant spray or disinfecting wipes.

—We must steer clear of anyone who is coughing or sneezing: Germs can potentially enter our body through the air we breathe. We must stay at least six feet away from anyone who is actively coughing or sneezing.

—We must get enough sleep: We must keep our immune system strong by ensuring that we are getting enough sleep each night.

—We must eat plenty of fruit and vegetables: We must give our immune system another boost by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, packed with important vitamins.

—We must disinfect communal surfaces immediately after use: One of the best ways to try to avoid the flu is through disinfecting high traffic surfaces as regularly as possible, health experts said.

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