NEWS about the impending brown outs and outages should keep us again alert, vigilant and on our toes.

Not only that. Our water supplies may not last that long if we continue with our extravagant use of this precious commodity often forgetting the basic use of recycling water in our daily practices.

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After experiencing shortages of electricity and water, we may be faced with the sorry spectacle of losing sugar, rice and spice and everything nice in our households because of their steep prices.

In the coming months, we might encounter first hand the damning effects of weather freaks patronizingly called El Nino and its twin, El Nina. Here we go again, gasping for precious breath in battling and hopefully surviving the onslaught of nature's destructive forces.

I do not remember hearing yet our national candidates talking seriously about how they would address the impending shortages and outages, except perhaps vice presidential aspirant Loren Legarda who has her flagship program Luntiang Pilipinas. The nine or so presidential candidates would do well to pool their resources, talent and expertise to put up an effective program or system to forestall the negative effects of the shortfalls in electricity and water and other important commodities.

The circus that these candidates are bringing into town may be temporarily relief. Soon after the brouhaha fades, the harsh realities of life once again we will face up to even in the tiniest portions of our epidermis.

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Censorship is being poised on showbiz celebrities who have been seen on TV and in print endorsing presidential candidates, so claims the Comelec.

On one hand, there is wisdom in such action as the candidates who do not have the moolah to finance costly campaigns and pay the expensive talent fees of prominent movie stars are at such grave disadvantage compared to their affluent adversaries.

On the other hand, the freedom of expression and association of these individuals may be infringed because of the limitations. Let us therefore leave it to the electorate to choose their worthy leaders and representatives. After all, authority to choose who should govern emanates from them.

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All about IRA. Incisive writer Juan L. Mercado puts his cents' worth on the LGUs' dependence on the internal revenue allotments.

In his column, Viewpoint, which appeared in the February 11 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mercado sneered on politicians who consider IRA as their own personal funds, sort of a reward for political victories, quoting North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Pinol, himself a former governor of the province.

IRAs are the 40 percent share of local government units on taxes collected by the national government and they are usually sent to and received by recipient LGUs on a regular or monthly basis.

Mercado zeroed in on the IRA in the light of the Ampatuans' misuse of the funds which could have gone fittingly to education, infrastructure and basic needs instead of being pocketed by the lords of Maguindanao.

The IRA pie is expected to be cut more into pieces in order to accommodate the 16 new cities which status has recently been upheld by the Supreme Court, to the consternation and loud objection of legitimately-constituted cities.

In the case of Mabalacat, a task force had to be created by Mayor Boking P. Morales in order to prepare its case for cityhood. It was a hard climb for the team as it went through the gauntlet of preparing documents, having them certified and authenticated and making numerous trips to concerned departments in Manila just so that the compliance can be made promptly. I doff my hats to Municipal Administrator Rosan Paquia, Zoning Administrator Bernard delos Reyes, Municipal Treasurer Myrna S. Ocampo and deputy Marlyn Molina, IC Calaguas of Congressman Lazatin's Office, Mabalacat Municipal Accountant Ted David and others who made the sacrifice so that the cityhood drive will hurdle obstacles. Of course, Congressman Carmelo "Tarzan" F. Lazatin should be given the credit for sponsoring the bill in Congress and seeing it through the committees in the House.

I know for sure that if ever the town becomes a city, there would be many free loaders who will claim credit for the success. Pero nanood lamang sila at wala namang ginawa o nagawa. Some people are just really predisposed to claim credit that they did not earn or deserve. Kawawa naman sila.