Only Pacquiao can satisfy the unreasonable Mindanaoans
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-04-19
Last Friday, President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) went to Davao City to deliver the message to Mindanao stakeholders that their power shortages will be relieved but they’ll have to pay more for electricity. P-Noy didn’t go to the Mindanao Summit to score political points or increase his approval ratings — but to explain the inconvenient truth.

This is the big advantage of having a president who looks only at serving the one term that the Constitution allows him and in that single term — to be solely focused on setting things right in our country. A sinister Chief Executive that’s eyeing a Constitutional maneuver that will allow him a second term would be too engaged in political grandstanding instead of solving the problems of the country.

The president’s message was loud and clear but these are hardest to hear as well as appreciate by those who simply cannot accept reality and are still clinging to the pipe dream of cheaper hydropower that’s no longer reliable because of varying rainfall conditions and extremely dry seasons. It’s also unrealistic for Mindanaoans to impose on us that fallacious arrogance of “only Mindanaoans know Mindanao problems.” That’s the other face of the idiotic thinking that only a chicken can know what is an egg.

In the case of the Mindanao power shortage problem, there had been a lot of media attention given to the clamor of parties with vested interests and very little explanation of the root causes of the problem. Media have allowed too much space and airtime for ANAYchists and grandstanding politicians to express their falsely premised conclusions and offers of impractical solutions.

In Mindanao, the power mix is only one aspect of the power shortage problem. The other major component is the personal interests that became the proverbial boil on the heel of progress. If that’s not complicated enough for you, there are Mindanao Bishops who ride on the issue just to deliver stinging rebuke to the one president with the political will to push for a Reproductive Health Bill.

There are also the Leftists whose real objective is to exacerbate Philippine problems. Didn’t we see Bayan Representative Teddy Casino in the Summit even if he’s not a Mindanao stakeholder? The Leftists are hoping that the weight of the country’s problems will cause the collapse of the government and in the interregnum — they’re hoping to take over. That’s precisely how the small but better organized Bolsheviks took over Russia after the fall of Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs to rule Russia.

If there’s an authority on the energy situation in our country and the Mindanao power shortage — it’s Senator Serge Osmeña, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. With the cacophony of voices involved in the blame game, with some even asking for the head of one of the best Energy Secretaries that we’ve had, Sen. Osmena conducted a March 28 press conference where he shared valuable insights.

Essentially, Sen. Osmeña supported Energy Secretary Rene Almendras and debunked all the unfounded accusations that Almendras was remiss in anticipating and preventing the Mindanao power shortage. Osmena clearly explained the new realities in Mindanao, where they became too reliant on cheaper but not consistently available hydropower.

In fact, as early as July 6, 2011, Sec. Almendras had warned about the current power shortage in Mindanao and made some recommendations that also earned the support of Sen. Osmeña. Sec. Almendras had predicted the power shortages in July 6, 2011 when the dry season lowers the capacity of Mindanao hydropower plants. His department had provided long-term solutions but these can only come online by 2013. There are immediate solutions, the admittedly more expensive power barges, but Mindanaoans have rejected these stopgap measures. They’d rather sweat and swear than pay for higher electricity.

In some of the media reports, you’ll get the impression that Sec. Almendras has been sleeping on the job. The truth is the Department of Energy (DoE) has initiated the construction of added energy sources when the P-Noy administration took over. However, these energy plants take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to construct. Per the Energy Department’s timetable, we will enjoy a surplus of electricity by 2014. By 2013, there will be much less power shortages.

Who in his right mind would not want to tap cheaper hydropower? However, who in his right mind will also rely heavily — if not solely — on cheaper hydropower despite the track record of unpredictable rainfall, the ultimate source of hydropower? If hydropower can no longer supply the demand, there’s no recourse but to seek a remix of energy sources, which is what the P-Noy government is now doing.

In denial and quite unreasonable, the griping Mindanao stakeholders should simply run to Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao instead of the P-Noy government. Pacquiao now claims to be talking to God. Maybe the Mindanaoans can request Manny Pacquiao to intercede with God to give Mindanao sufficient and steady rainfall to be able to maximize on cheaper hydropower.

For our country to move forward, we must all endeavor to face our problems realistically. Otherwise, we will not be able to reach applicable solutions.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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