“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — The sudden appearance of placard-bearing “pro-Panay Electric Company (PECO)” rallysts at the Plaza Libertad in Iloilo City in the Philippines showing support for the PECO and opposing the entry of PECO’s rival, More Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power), on November 26, 2018, has raised so many eyebrows.
Who wouldn’t be surprised?
It’s like seeing the remnants of holocaust victims petitioning the Vatican to declare Hitler as a saint.
Who were these Plaza Libertad pro-PECO protesters?
Where did they come from?
Who organized them?
We didn’t know there were Ilonggo power consumers willing to risk their lives, limbs, and reputations for the much-maligned PECO.
We didn’t know–until those placard-toting ragtag individuals displayed their fangs and sought to influence the authorities–that the PECO has a fan club.
Do they have social activities other than showing canine loyalty to the PECO?
Do they hold a regular meeting?
When was the “fan club” founded?
PECO, which is asking Congress to renew its franchise set to expire on January 19, 2019, became so unpopular because of its alleged poor services, its being insensitive to their plight, negligence, astronomical bills, dilapidated meters and lamp posts, among other serious shortcomings.
For nearly 100 years, PECO has served Iloilo City consumers, but its litany of sins to the vexed and impatient consumers is also as old as its age and apathy.
When one walks in a village in Iloilo City today, seldom can you find a resident, a power consumer, who won’t spew a vitriol against the PECO, much less refuse to say derogatory words against the PECO if asked whether he is satisfied with the power firm’s services.
For most Ilonggos, PECO is now like Mary Magdalene, cursed and condemned; and about to be stoned.
PECO needs a Christ to protect it from stone throwers, and it is hoping Congress will act as the miracle man who will admonish PECO’s tormentors.
PECO also needs that miracle man to help it obtain a 25-year franchise extension now slumbering in the House committee level.
Thus it’s inconceivable that a faction of consumers was defending PECO and holding a rally just as MORE Power was wooing the city aldermen who were holding a regular session in the adjacent Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Where were those angry (that MORE power will enter and operate in Iloilo City) rallysts when thousands of (their fellow) Ilonggo consumers were crying for justice against PECO’s alleged injustices to other anti-PECO faction?
We find it bizarre that they didn’t hold a similar rally or noise to compel PECO to honor its obligation to the paying public, stop making life difficult for the consumers, provide them with adequate and better services, and modernize.
Since the pro-PECO rallysts were also power consumers, weren’t they affected by PECO’s purported abysmal services like what the majority of the consumers have been enduring?
There are two schools of thoughts in the pro-PECO rallysts’ petition to block another power firm that promises to provide better services, manpower and equipment to the benighted Ilonggos consumers for fear that the company “has zero experience in the power distribution industry” and might only “plunge Iloilo City into darkness.”
One, they would rather want the rat-infested house to remain standing and hope that the authorities will kill the rats even if the owner won’t initiate the killing spree.
Second, they are willing to live with the rats, for the time being, as long as the authorities won’t burn the entire house and wait for authorities to lower the boom on the owner even if he is doing nothing and, in fact, allowing the rats to reign supreme.
For a regular Ilonggo consumer fed up with what’s going on, he doesn’t give a hoot whether the rats are killed or the house is totally burned.
He only wants to transfer his residence.