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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Friday, May 16, 2014

EVER since the invention – discovery of Prometheus fire, the rate of civilizations to develop and advance has been tied to its energy consumption and production, you can say to exist in this world you need energy, but to be relevant and to survive you need even more energy.

In Mindanao’s case our capacity to develop as island has been greatly held back through decades of darkness, for sure we’ve come in to our own, but our potential has been massively reduced because of inefficiency in providing energy.

Well documented, well analyzed, and well reported. The “Crisis” of energy in this island has been going for over a decade, and yet no long term solution has ever come about, there have been moves to increase the potential for renewables in the island, such in the ventures of more hydroelectric power plants to supply much of Mindanao’s power needs, however up to this point existing ones have been mostly ill maintained, and don’t produce energy at the rate that it can efficiently suffice the ever growing demands of many progressing areas.


Energy Secretary Almendras courageous prediction that the power crisis would end in 2013 was left as a broken dream, a silly rhetorical claim that lead many to hope. Only to face extreme and more prolonged power outages and rotational brownouts for a good half 2013 and the start of 2014.

As an island that produces 40 percent of this nation’s food supply, we deserve a more sustainable solution. The billions of pesos lost with every prolonged brownout is already unimaginable, obviously this looming and on-going crisis has made it imperative that the PNoy administration both provide short term and long term solutions, clearly the environmental equation also has to be considered, although coal energy does present as an immediate solution to the problem it cannot be relied on to sustain all of Mindanao’s energy demands, which is why greater emphasis on renewables have to be prioritized.

And while we look for solutions from the producers end point, a big part of the long term adjustment has to come from consumers, much of Mindanao’s power is still highly subsidized, there is some degree of truth that our energy inefficiency, and our ability to maintain the existing hydroelectric dams have been partly because we pay so little for its maintenance. Along this line some fiscal adjustment must be done, and this will and should entail higher energy costs, but to us it shouldn’t be seen as oppression. But as a means to both regulate consumption and also improve services, we have to swallow the bitter pill for now in the promise that our future energy demands will be sustained.

If we live in a Mindanao that has marginally more expensive electricity, but can provide it on a 24/7 basis all year out, we’d rather live in that kind of Mindanao, because our battle against darkness has lasted for more than a decade already, it is getting real tiresome. It is high time we get a taste of the light – 24/7.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 16, 2014.


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