Out(r)ages, shortages 

Published June 8, 2021, 12:04 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

Then there’s a suggestion of sabotage, too, which senators are eager to confirm or deny.

Meanwhile, Laban Konsyumer’s Vic Dimagiba has written lawmakers in both Houses of Congress to advise them on how to lower the prices of electricity, our rates being higher than those of some First World countries.

Sergio Dagoc, party-list representative speaking for Philippine Electric Cooperatives, seeks the return of National Power Corp. and an amendment to the EPIRA law. Since the 1990’s we’ve been living with a slew of acronyms and initials that were meant to buy us cheaper electricity, even passing a law called Murang Kuryente Act.

But as our electricity bills have shown us, during this great depression and in the midst of yearly anniversaries of brownouts/blackouts and other differently colored outages, that murang kuryente is in name only. ERC, WESM, PSALM, NGCP, EPIRA, Et Cetera, the lot – how have we benefited from them? Why, we even have a law that taxes us for CHEAPER fuel in the form of renewable energy, and it’s unfittingly called FIT for feed-in tariff.

In the season of politicians playing coy about their ambitions for 2022, a former undersecretary of education who’s a CPA (they know how to count and account for income and expenditures!) and founder-chairman of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino offers a most radical proposal as a possible election issue. Butch Valdes’ wish is for the national government to take over ownership and management of public utilities – water, power – and save money for the people while giving President Duterte a chance to leave a lasting legacy of his administration.

Such a takeover as “mandated by the Constitution, art. 12 sec. 17-18” will cut the cost of electricity by 50 percent, which will in turn result in a boost of P2-3 trillion to the purchasing power of households. Business will move again, the economy will restart, we can leave the depression in the dust.

While most of us do not trust government to do anything without bungling the job or tainting the system with corrupt appointees and incompetents, Mr. Valdes has complete trust in the abilities of the engineers and technicians who will be retained to manage the plants under a new boss, People of the Philippines.