The power play of the ANAYchists
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-03-29
My Facebook friend, Jay N. Ramos, was so incensed by the agitprop of the Left and their front organizations in attempting to use the problem of high prices to sow a climate of confusion and hatred against the President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) government.

Jay came up with the right word to tag the destabilizers – ANAYchist (ANAY means termite). He gave it a scientific name of “Pestiferous Bangasus” and described it as “an annoying creature whose sole purpose in life is to undermine anything it can sink its mandibles into.”

The ANAYchists distort issues to make the government look remiss in its duties, insensitive to public needs and incompetent. They blame on the government the rising prices of basic goods that are caused by rising oil prices. Preying on the ignorance of many Filipinos – victims of the Information Gap that is rooted to our shallow, narrow-minded and showbiz addicted broadcast media – they peddle unrealistic solutions that will only result in a worse situation.

For the rising price of petrol that’s the result of oil distribution slowdown due to the political problems in the Middle East and the developing scarcity of oil in 20 years, our ANAYchists are prescribing two remedies. The first remedy is to scrap the oil deregulation law. The alternative remedy is to cancel or reduce the VAT on petrol. To the uninformed, it might seem like the solutions but to one who understands the dynamics of the problem – it’ll only worsen the problems we have.

To scrap the oil deregulation law is to subsidize the petrol needs of Filipinos. That’s something we cannot afford to do and to do it is to upset the fiscal position that we now have that’s generating rating upgrades and attracting foreign investors. To remove or reduce the VAT on petrol will result in the same worse scenario of wreaking havoc on our fiscal position. The ANAYchists simply want to provoke a revolutionary situation.

If you listen to the ANAYchists, you’d think that DoE (Department of Energy) Secretary Rene Almendras is insensitive to public needs and incompetent. The truth is Sec. Almendras if one of the biggest assets of the P-Noy administration. Contradicting the ANAYchists, Senator Serge Osmena, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, expressed his strong support for DoE Sec. Almendras in his efforts to try to resolve the electric power shortage in Mindanao.

“Secretary Almendras has been trying to manage an unmanageable situation,” declared Sen. Osmeña, who also co-chairs the Joint Congressional Power Commission that’s tasked with oversight responsibilities on the implementation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001. The DoE Secretary has maintained the sufficiency of power supply in Luzon and the Visayas. Mindanao is a problem that resulted from many bad decisions made in the past and bad practices today that make power distribution more unmanageable.

Almendras has provided a stop gap solution to Mindanao’s power shortage by providing them with power barges that supply electricity, albeit more expensive than hydro generated power. P-Noy and Almendras have also initiated an approach to the Mindanao power shortage problem by involving all stakeholders in the process of developing a long-term solution, something Sen. Osmena also endorsed.
In tracing the root causes of the Mindanao power shortage, Osmena said: “Inopportunely, the residents of Mindanao, through their representatives, pushed for a 10 year exemption from the privatization program of the NPC-owned plants in Mindanao, notably the Agus-Pulangui hydropower complex which at that time supplied about 75% of the power needs of Mindanao at the lowest rate.”

“Even worse, the bicam committee agreed to postpone the construction of the transmission line interconnection between Leyte and Surigao,” he added. That would have enabled excess Visayas power to be shifted to Mindanao, which by geography is isolated from the Visayas.

“But the energy demand studies made by the Department of Energy showed that Mindanao would run short of power in about 10 years. So with much misgiving, I supported (as a member of the Bicameral Committee on the EPIRA) the wishes of my brother congressmen from Mindanao but since 2010, or 2 years ago, I have been regretting having acceded to their well-meaning requests because I may also be blamed indirectly for the power shortage that is causing economic and social hardships to the residents of Mindanao,” Osmena said.

Osmena further explained: “The Luzon and Visayas areas now enjoy a sufficient supply of electricity. Visayas alone has a surplus of 380 megawatts, which could easily cover the current shortage in Mindanao.” He added. Luzon and Visayas are about to operationalize the “open access” program, which will translate to even lower prices for electricity.”

In the NCR (National Capital Region), quick action by Almendras to the breakdown of the Zapote, Las Pinas grid averted a power shortage. They shifted excess supply to cover the breakdown of the Zapote grid while fast tracking the grid’s repair. Noticeably, power breakdowns in the NCR have drastically diminished since Almendras became DoE Secretary.

Let’s not be swayed by ANAYchist agitprop and learn to appreciate the sincere, hardworking public servants who persevere to try to keep us supplied at the most realistic cost of power.

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

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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