Non-confrontation

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By Neil Honeyman

An Independent View

Monday, October 15, 2012


OUR culture is one which tries to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Confrontation avoidance, a component of delicadeza, may make life superficially more harmonious, but can lead to indecisiveness and cause inferior or sloppy performance and thinking to go unchecked. Confrontation is not always bad and non-confrontation is not always good.

Furthermore, those who are overly assertive will, in a confrontation free zone, succeed in promulgating nonsensical views without the challenges that those views should receive.

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Rep Golez

Negros Occidental has seven Congressional Districts. There are approximately 1.4 million registered voters. Each Congressional District should therefore have approximately 200,000 registered voters. This, in fact, is roughly the case. Yet in 2010, incoming Rep Golez, tried via an eccentric distortion of the Constitution, to justify that the Lone District of Bacolod should be split in two. This would mean that each of the divided areas would have around 100,000 registered voters whereas the 1st to 6th districts of Negros Occidental would have about 200,000 registered voters. Golez’s idea was, therefore, a non-starter right from the beginning.

Yet no-one with any kind of authority said ‘Tony, your idea is nonsense.’ [In this regard, it should be said that coffee-shop habitués, as is often the case, had a firmer grasp on reality than so-called leaders].

So Rep Golez, with a cavalier disregard for other people’s time, caused the City’s Barangay Captains to produce the detailed population information that he thought would bolster his case for two Congressional Districts in Bacolod City.

From 2010 until quite recently, Golez told the dwindling band of people who were listening, that the two Congressional Districts idea would be implemented. Now, with the looming 2013 elections, it is clear that there will be no change.

We need more ‘cynics and confrontationistas’ to knock back half-baked ideas.
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Ceneco

The fact that electricity blackouts, whether expected or unexpected, are no longer news is unfortunate. It means that they occur too frequently and that we have docilely acquiesced to unsatisfactory service.

[Incidentally, we appreciate the advance warning given when Ceneco knows that upcoming maintenance work will cause a cessation of supply. We would, however, welcome the day when there are no outages of any kind.]

Nevertheless, we are not satisfied with the explanation provided by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for last Tuesday evening’s blackout. Elmer Cruz of NGCP’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (Visayas) Department stated that a ‘trip at a power plant in Leyte resulted in a 97 megawatt power deficit in the Visayas, thereby causing NGCP to enforce manual load shedding in the region. Ceneco, surely, finds this ‘explanation’ unsatisfactory.

Every day NGCP announces its ‘Power Station Outlook’ which for last Tuesday was, for the Visayas, 1,630 MW available capacity, and 1,391 MW peak demand. Hence there was a comfortable reserve of 239 MW.

So why was there a power trip at the plant in Leyte when there was a considerable margin between available capacity and the demand?

We urge Ceneco not to accept unsatisfactory service from NGCP without making serious representations.

‘Banging the table’ may not be compatible with our non-confrontational culture, but sometimes it becomes necessary. It may even cause NGCP to improve its performance. It would also improve Ceneco’s relationship with its customers if it could provide satisfactory explanations for those blackouts which are outside its control.

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Budget

Congress is in session during this week and from 5 November until 19 December. Much of this time will be spent discussing the proposed 2013 Budget.

When Congress returns after the long Christmas break, many legislators will be campaigning for the May 2013 elections. Therefore we do not expect much substantive legislation to be passed during the remaining days of this Congress.

As far as the Budget is concerned, the contentious item is likely to be the substantial increase, P54 billion (23%), proposed for Education. This should attract intensive debate. No doubt. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, himself a past DepEd Secretary, will be having vigorous behind-the-scenes discussions with the lawmakers. A difficult area will be whether costs associated with implementing K-12, not approved by Congress, will be included in the 2013 Budget.

Whatever the outcome, we hope that PNoy, unlike his predecessor, will not make unilateral changes to the Budget which has been approved by Congress.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 15, 2012.

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