By Herbert L. Vego
THIS month of June is known in the whole world as “the wedding month.” To a certain extent, to be a June bride has become an obsession among young girls. Why is that so?
In fact, the only reason why I married my girlfriend in a June month was because it was her wish to be a June bride.
“For good luck,” she said to justify the tradition.
To cut the long story short, “good luck” was not meant to be; we split after nine years and a son who is now 50 years old and still single.
I blamed myself for not listening to my parents, who had not been remiss in reminding me that “singles” had to be well-prepared before plunging into “double life.”
I wonder how many other fiancés and fiancées had married in June, just like me, without even knowing the reason behind the un-Filipino tradition.
You see, the tradition does not sustain the belief that June is merry month to marry in. If I may say my two cents’ worth, we are merely “importing” a foreign tradition.
Blame Rome for initiating it. Legend has it that the Romans favored June weddings because that was the month dedicated to Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.
There was a practical side to it though: A marriage in Rome in June could result in a conception early enough so that the wife wouldn’t be so full with child as to stay at home during the harvest. A June wedding also meant that the baby would be born soon enough for the bride to be in shape for the next harvest.
Indeed, in pre-contraceptive Europe, getting married in June meant that children conceived from June unions would be born the following spring, increasing their chances of survival after the long – and often very lean – winter months.
The term “honeymoon” has a historical origin, referring to the first moon after the summer solstice which was called the “honey moon.”
The timing of the June summer solstice, incidentally, depends on when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the celestial equator. Therefore, the solstice does not always occur on the same day. This year, it’s on June 21.
Unfortunately, adopting the Roman style makes no sense in the Philippine setting on three main grounds. First, June marks the beginning of the rainy season and typhoon visits in the archipelago. Second, since students go back to school in June, expenses are in high gear. Third, diseases like dengue, influenza and typhoid are rampant in the rainy month.
My advice to today’s sweethearts is to never risk a rainy marriage and never start a family on zero bank balance.
THE ‘BILL RETURNEES’
NO, they were not rebel returnees. But for “religiously” paying their electricity bills on time for 36 straight months (three years), MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro, handed each of them a check representing refund of the bill deposits they had made while signing up for power connection three years ago.
A number of media men, including myself, witnessed the turnover ceremony at the MORE Power office in Iloilo City last Friday.
“You are the returnees,” Castro joked to the three of them, alluding to the “return” of their bill deposits.
They are the first three customers who had completed three years of on-time payment of electricity bills, starting from February 2020 when MORE Power took over the previous distribution utility, Panay Electric Co. (PECO). They are Romeo Jagorin Jr, who received a refund check of ₱4,000; Jean Agustin, ₱2,500; and Emmanuel Emprodo, ₱2,500.
MORE Power started with 62,000 customers “inherited” from PECO. But with 31,000 new ones within only three years, there are now 93,000-plus.
“We intend to refund everybody who has religiously paid for 36 straight months,” Castro clarified. He stressed there would be monthly refunds for compliant customers, which could add up to ₱5 million by the end of the year.
Under Article 7 of the “Magna Carta for Residential Consumers” all distribution utilities are mandated to refund bill deposits of non-delinquent customers. Needless to say, it would motivate customers to pay bills on or before the due date. A bill deposit represents the estimated worth of monthly consumption of an applying customer.
Obviously, a customer who defaults a monthly deadline would have to start counting 36 months all over again to qualify for a refund.
Castro said that the refund initiative is not only meant to comply with the Magna Carta for Residential Consumers but to exercise the company’s customer-focused service.
“Even if the customer does not ask for it, we go out of our way to inform the customer that this is due him,” he emphasized.
Commissioner Alexis Lumbatan of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), who was the special guest of the maiden refund occasion, confessed, “Bihirang-bihira po for any distribution utility to [voluntarily] return the bill deposit.”
There is only one other way a depositor with no arrears may reclaim his deposit – if and when he quits his power connection.
Aba, ayokong mag-quit!