THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is apparently running the power business like it was a "power" business. Like forcing a whole Mindanao region to heel and offering a choice that is not even one.

"We need these quick fixes because building a power plant will take as long as four to five years. We have two choices: cheaper power now but it's not enough or expensive power but there will be a supply. We have come to a point where we need to choose," NGCP regional corporate executive Edgardo Calabio said last week. He said this after saying that power rate in Mindanao can go up by P15 to P19 per kilowatt hour once the generator sets offered by other private companies are brought in to stabilize the power situation in the island.

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The price is what the lessors have projected. Apparently, some private lessors (most probably with strong political backings) have seen a profitable area to pillage -- like Mindanao thirsting from lack of rain and power supply -- and thus, over and above the incentives offered by government, they project a ridiculously high power rate.

And what has NGCP got to say to this?

"Posibleng mas mababa pa rito. How they (genset operators) will charge it will still also have to undergo negotiation," Calabio said.

Now, after offering a solution that will cost Mindanaoans outrageously high, NGCP is saying, we can get it much lower if we beg.

The company that provides power for the whole Philippines is saying Mindanao will get its power at a more reasonable rate if it begs. Great, really great. And the politicos who are all smiling in our television sets remain quiet, eerily quiet. Maybe they too stand to earn from this fleecing of Mindanao anew?

Out there in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesman announced that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will perform his constitutional duty to appoint the replacement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno once he retires on May 17 once the High Court's decision becomes final and executory despite criticisms from various sectors. How dutiful our president is, isn't she?

In the page after this, Cebu columnist Frank Malilong no longer wants to remember that he has gone to law school.

At the way our government runs our lives, pretty soon we will all want to forget what we are as well.