Everyone thought the power problems of the Aquino era were a dim memory of the past, until they reoccured recently.
As our country cripples with the minuscule power investments we have, the rotating blackouts of the 1990s have returned. Threatening vital investments that the impoverished region of Mindanao desperately needs.
The first occurrence happened during the 1990s, especially during the later period of the Corazon Aquino administration and Fidel Ramos’ early days. At its’ peak, the blackouts would be up to 12 hours daily. This was attributed to the lack of power suppliers in the country and the antiquity of our existing power plants. As a means to mitigate the growing problem, then-President Ramos ordered the creation of an energy department that would spearhead the energy crisis and would address any other power problems the country may face in the future. In addition, Ramos was given emergency powers by Congress which allowed him to grant immediate licenses to independent power producers (IPPs) and offered them incentives that would entice the investors to build power plants and to create additional investments in the power sector.
Despite the reforms made by Ramos, the task to be done was still a difficult one as investors considered the Philippines as a ‘risk’ because of the coups that happened. Nevertheless, the power problem was alleviated.
Was it solved for good? Not quite.
Today’s version of the problem demand a more complex solution. The government’s most likely solutions to the problem would be the complex, economic reform one. Where they would improve the country’s international image, amend the Constitution to make our country better feasible to investments and create better assurances for the safety of the investors, most especially to terrorist threats. The other solution, would be the conventional, public-awareness one where they would make the people conserve energy and pass the burden of resolving the crisis to them.
Just stating the obvious there.
It is funny how the government tends to ignore the most immediate solution we posses. As unpopular as it may be, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is in usable condition as examined by foreign nuclear specialists under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The country has yet to enjoy the benefits of the $2.3 billion investment, which had been fully paid for in 2007. The plant has been mothballed since the Aquino administration, and because of strong opposition by environmental and religious activists, who deem the use of nuclear power as unacceptable, will continue to be so for a long period of time.
The power problem has gotten worse that the whole country has plunged into the darkness. Any remedy the government feeds, a sector of the country spits out. So until society agrees, and everyone cooperates, the power problem will be in tact for a longer time.