By Alex P. Vidal
“It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears.”—Rod Serling
WHAT was clear to ordinary citizens and netizens is that the inquisitors during the Senate and House of Representatives committee hearings on January 10 pounded the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) heavily like Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozing Gaza.
After the blaming binge and carpet-bombing, nobody from the NGCP, Department of Energy (DoE), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC), MORE Electric and Power Corporation stood to ensure the public the post-New Year 2024 massive blackouts in Panay, Guimaras, and portions of Negros won’t happen again.
They can sledgehammer NGCP and jostle its extremities, but they must offer immediate solutions—concrete solutions, not empty suggestions and proposals, more investigations, more reviews of laws, more hearings, more finger-pointing, more angry and loud admonitions, more blah-blah-blahs.
What the people in Panay Island in particular—and other regions to be affected by power outages in the future in general—want is clear-cut assurances that the January 2-5, 2024 blackouts that cost the city and province of Iloilo some P4 billion in economic loses were the last.
We just can’t entrust the future of our electric industry to politicians; we need the experts in the power technology sector to interfere and take the driver’s seat in this hullabaloo.
We are in the present and clear danger and crisis. Congressional inquiries are good, but the Ilonggos need a stable power. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Ilonggos don’t need more angry faces and loud mouths to drive a point of revulsion over what has unraveled. What has happened cannot be unhappened.
Now is the time to lit some candles instead of condemning the darkness and drawing more blood and dead bodies from NGCP’s badly ravaged enclaves.
Let us take a look at what the politicians in the recent committee hearings wanted to happen:
—Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero wanted to review the Philippine Grid Code “to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
In the current situation, power plants can reportedly make an unscheduled shutdown if it affects only frequency, but it is silent about unbalance and voltage.
Escudero suggested: “These things need to be clarified so that protocols can be established to avoid similar incidents from occurring in the future.”
— Sen. Francis Tolentino blamed NGCP’s failure to immediately acknowledge its shortcomings in the three-day power blackout in Panay Island saying it “should pave the way for Congress to review the legislative franchise granted by the government to the power consortium under Republic Act (RA) No. 9511.”
He pointed out: “If we look at Section 3 (of RA 9511), maybe they forget what is written, are the words industry standards, not just technical standards, but transparency and accountability are also included.”
— Sen. Win Gatchalian wanted to review parts of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) and other relevant laws, including the franchise of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), to further prevent blackouts and ensure reliable and continuous electric power supply in the country.
Again, we need assurances from authorities concerned that the nightmares of January 2-5, 2024 were history.
Enough of the rhetorics. Enough of the long-shot reviews, repels of certain laws that govern the energy industry, etcetera.
A BABY PICTURE CAN PROTECT OUR WALLET. In a recent study, 88 percent of people who found wallets with photos of a smiling baby returned them…compared with 53 percent of people who found wallets with a photo of a cute puppy…48 percent, a happy family…and 28 percent, a contented elderly couple, says Dr. Richard Wisemen of of the University of Hertfordshire, U.K.
WOMEN WITH MIGRAINES have lower breast cancer risk. Pre- and postmenopausal women who have a history of migraines have a 26% lower risk for breast cancer. Researchers aren’t sure what the connection is, but both migraines and breast cancer are affected by the body’s estrogen levels, says the University of Berkeley Wellness Letter in New York City.
COFFEE PROTECTS THE LIVER. Dr. Arthur Kiatsky says among people who had developed chronic liver disease from heavy alcohol intake, those who drank one to three cups of coffee per day were about 40% less likely to develop cirrhosis (characterized by a scarred liver with diminished function) than those who did not drink coffee.
SEX FOCUS. A group of students were shown picture of couples having sex. At the same time scientists recorded what part of the pictures the test subjects looked at first. The men more often looked at the women’s faces, whereas the women tended to focus their attention on the genitals. Only women who were on the pill focused on the way the room was decorated. (Kinsey Institute)
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)