Valentine’s and MORE Power Day

By Herbert Vego

TODAY, February 14, is Valentine’s Day worldwide. It’s the day when married couples and lovers exchange love notes, whisper sweet nothings and go out for lunch or dinner. The most visible symbol of this day is the legendary boy Cupid. Armed with a bow and arrow, he aims at a man and a woman and pierces through two hearts at once. His victims thus fall — in love.

History traces the original Saint Valentine — patron saint of lovers — as a 3rd Century Roman Catholic priest.

However, because of his identification with fornication, the Church removed him from its roster of saints.

Moreover, Valentine’s Day is a takeoff from a pagan celebration. Since there are various apocryphal accounts of its origin, we can’t confirm which one is correct. Suffice it to recall the most popular one:

In the third century, hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside of Rome where shepherds kept their flocks. Every February, the Romans celebrated the Lupercalia feast so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks.

During Lupercalia, celebrated in honor of the goddess Juno Februata, young women put their names into a box, to be drawn by men. The matching boys and girls would be considered partners for the year.

To win converts, church officials Christianized the ancient pagan Feast of Lupercus, changing its name to St. Valentine’s Day. To give the celebration further meaning and eliminate pagan traditions, priests substituted the raffle draw of the Saints’ names for the names of the girls. The young people were supposed to emulate the lives of the saints whose names they had drawn.

In the fourteenth century, however, they reverted back to the use of girls’ names.

The drawing of names on St. Valentine’s Eve has survived in England and neighboring places. When a boy draws a girl’s name, he pins it on his sleeve and pays her special attention. This makes the girl his valentine throughout the year.

In the United States today, Valentine’s Day parties include a “raffle of hearts.” The “hearts” are heart-shaped red cardboards cut by half in jigsaw pattern and distributed to single young men and women. Each half-heart male recipient looks for the other half and inevitably finds it in the hand of a female recipient, who then becomes his Valentine.

Legend has it that the priest Valentine, promoted to bishop during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius, charmed the young and old, rich and poor people to attend his services. As a result, he performed many marriages. This angered Emperor Claudius, who could no longer recruit soldiers for his wars because the men would no longer leave their wives. Claudius eventually banned Valentine from officiating marriages.

Valentine thought this to be unfair and secretly solemnized marriages of several couples. When Claudius found out, he threw Valentine in prison. While there, he cured a jail guard’s daughter of blindness. Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote her letters that were signed “From your Valentine.”

Claudius became enraged and had Valentine clubbed and beheaded on February 14, 269 A.D.

-oOo-

MORE POWER FRANCHISE TURNS 5

TODAY means much more than Valentine’s Day as far as MORE Electric and Power Corp. is concerned. As Iloilo City’s power-distribution utility, the company celebrates the 5th anniversary of the law (RA 11212) granting it a 25-year franchise. To be specific, it was on Feb. 14, 2019 when then President Rodrigo Duterte signed that law.

In that leap year, however, MORE Power could not heed its franchise mandate because its outgoing predecessor, Panay Electric Co. (PECO) had questioned the legality of the expropriation of its facilities. And so, it was not until one more year later on February 29, 2020 that MORE started energizing the city based on a writ of possession issued by the Regional Trial Court.

By then, the company had fully prepared for the takeover, having absorbed more than 50 of PECO’s technical personnel.

“There is a provision on eminent domain in the franchise mandating us to take over and absorb PECO employees within the transition period,” MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro said in a press conference, adding that MORE Power was ready to roll out new infrastructure.

Section 17 of RA 11212 provides for a smooth transition: “Panay Electric Co. (PECO) shall in the interim be authorized to operate the existing distribution system within the franchise area until the establishment or acquisition by the grantee of its own distribution system and its complete transition towards full operations as determined by the Energy Regulatory Commission.”

Mayor Jerry Treñas welcomed the utility as “our great partner in creating a sustainable city.”

From around 65,000 households in 2020, MORE Power’s customers have grown to more than 90,000. Thanks to the able leadership of President Roel Castro, whose track record includes over 20 years at the helm of nine other companies.

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