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June 6 - 12, 2015

The Fisherman’s Son
By ANTONIO M. REYES

Last Saturday, the almost lifeless body of 8-year old Neil Palco, was found by his uncle Rogelio floating along the edge of Ibarra beach. He rushed him to the City Maternity Hospital, but the child was pronounced dead on arrival. He said he last saw Niel playing along the beach, but wasn’t worried, because the child was afraid of the sea.

A neighbor there claims something along the water’s edge must have enticed Neil to wade into the water where he was hit by a wave that towed him under.

Our correspondent, Nekka Pablo, went to the nipa hut, where Neil lived to talk to his parents. But was informed they had left earlier to seek financial assistance to cover the expenses of their son’s funeral. There was also the nagging problem of obtaining funds for his grave and a decent lapida.

I was deeply touched by this tragedy because the sea is our main source of food.And if our fishermen cannot even afford to provide their loved ones with a decent burial - they must really be hard up.

Yet what can we do to ease their plight? A good start would be to minimize the intrusion of commercial fishing boats, which are now trawling within our 15 kilometer municipal waters,which are reserved for our marginal fishermen.

During the assignment here of Colonel Alfredo Sabornido as PNP Provincial Director he would join City BantayDagat patrols and intercept, board and impound these marauding vessels. He would later distribute

its illegal harvest to the employees of the government agencies here, and use the proceeds from the fines the boat owners had to pay, to cover the cost of fuel for the patrol cars of the provincial police force.

If City Agriculturist Amado Acasio and City Police Chief Francisco Columba Jr. could join forces and re-activate this project, our coastal fishermen won’t have to venture far out to sea to catch fish, since they could easily (and cheaply) catch them within our city waters.

Of course the longer term solution would be to impose a moratorium on future reclamation projects in the city. For our mangrove forests and reefs are the nurseries of marine life, and without it, the fish will move somewhere else.

There are other ways we can help our marginal fishermen, but since I’ve already exceeded my 400 word (self-imposed) limit per column, I will leave that for another time.

Until then, remember: “All it takes for evil to succeed, is for good men to do nothing.”

Antonio M. Reyes is the publisher and editor of the Southern Leyte Times the largest circulating newspaper & website in Southern Leyte.

Power Scramble
ATTY. JESS G. DUREZA

I read reports saying that Mindanao is "ok" on power needs due to the many new power plants being put up. True? Not really! Mark my words. In a year or so, there will be another acute power shortage in Mindanao. This will trigger a mad rush among power coops where to get power on a stop gap basis. They will be scrambling all over the place to see where to get power while the new power plants are not yet in operation. That's a gap window of about four to five years or so.

The rosy picture being painted today by the energy sector about sufficient generating capacities on a long term in Mindanao may be accurate, but if we look closely, the challenge is how to address the situation on a short term before these new power plants start operating.

Yes, there are big coal-fired plants being built but they will not give us electric power earlier than four or five years from today. In the meantime,
where do we get the power that we need to sustain our incremental growth?

Take note that even in today's power situation, Mindanao is already having a power shortage or a deficit in its demand and supply data. Hence the intermittent brownouts now occurring.

The power coops are sitting uneasy today. For example several coops, or more than 20 of the 33 electric coops all across Mindanao had early on signed up for their power needs with Ayala's GN Powerto cover their future power need projections. Such power sales agreement in 2010 was a breakthrough when the Mindanao coops aggregated to leverage a better price deal. Well and good! But a reality check is that GN Power's planned 540MWplant in Kauswagan, Lanao del Nortehas just started breaking ground.

The coops are now becoming restless, knowing that the original targeted start of operations in 2018 is too tight given its current accomplishment which, based on latest DOE report, was less than 20 percent and still at earthwork stage. Several of these coops are no longer pinning their hopes solely on their supply contracts with GN Coal Power. In fact, several of them have started reducing, withdrawing or reconsidering and looking for power somewhere else.

This brings us now to a situation where power coops will have to scout around for temporary arrangements to bridge this power gap. The way forward is to install small to medium power generating capacities that are embedded or exclusively intended for specific coops for their own localities, like diesel or bunker fired modular generators. They may be a bit expensive in terms of consumer price. But past experience taught us that it's far better to have a bit more reasonably expensive power than having "no power" at all!

There are other options like installation of solar powered or small hydro or biomass plants. Whatever the option is, there must be ways done to
insulate and protect communities from a serious deficit in the whole grid -- an eventuality that now appears inevitable.

Atty. Jesus “Jess” Dureza served in various capacities under the Ramos and Arroyo administration, including the post of Press Secretary and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. He is the current Chairman of the Philippine Press Institute.

No Law vs. Early Political Ads

The way”political” ads in the guise of promotional plugs as public confessions of private partisan intentions practically fill national television spaces, nobody seems to be running, they are just showing and flaunting. Except for VP Jojo Binay who’s the earliest bird to announce his bid for national leadership and whose popularity and name recall do not need much publicity props, the others are just testing the waters, so to speak. The rest who appear certain of big endorsements are just too humble, modest or coy about it. Or they simply have no personal funds or financial sponsors to splurge on PR stunts this early.

And they call it leveling the playing field?

Very ironic is the fact that the COMELEC is helpless about this clear and evident premature or early campaigning. Unless amended, the election law says there is no such thing as illegal campaigning for those who have not yet filed their certification of candidacies and the campaign period definitely has not begun. So where and who are liable for election offense? None of the above! It’s absurd how Comelec appeals to the morality and conscience of probable candidates not to jump the gun and capitalize on their being incumbents and wealthy which becomes highly suspect of dubious sourcing. Fairness is not a virtue of the overly ambitious.

The costing for such “political” ads now flooding the media industry particularly big national television networks is staggering. Billions of pesos go to them and the PR and marketing outfits producing these spots. And it becomes downright stupid for media networks not to accept such big revenues for the sake of delicadeza as suggested by Comelec again. This is one big business with huge profits for media. And much much more in the campaign period. So how can they refuse ads placements even this early? But again our election laws need more teeth, better known for breach than observance.

Another interesting game now being played in political circles is pairing or tandem who’s No. 1 and the No. 2. So, there’s Roxas-Poe, Poe-Escudero,Binay-Erap, Duterte-Vilma, Ping-whoever and so on. But again except for VP Binay, nobody is running. They are not saying only showing in the visibility circuit as they go around appearing in unlikely places. As one old saying goes, early birds get the worms. By the way, may I correct a quotation in my last column that I attributed to Hemingway as author. It should have been Tennessee Williams in the Glass Managerie about” sticks and stones can break our bones but not words”.






 

 

 

   

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The Fisherman’s Son

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