ORDINARY power consumers, like us, need to brace ourselves for power rate increases by the end of the year that industry insiders have been talking about for some time now, but are afraid to tell us point blank. The reason for this is simple.

Full privatization of the government-subsidized National “Pawong” Corp. is expected this year. Thus, various Napocor plants, now operated by the private sector, will no longer enjoy government subsidy. This means the real cost of power—which is actually high—will come into play.

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Why have we come to this? In a way, this had something to do with how our legislators fashioned the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or (Epira). The idea then was to privatize the heavily-indebted and corruption-ridden Napocor so the more efficient players in the private sector could come in and bring down the price of electricity.

But as Epira was carried out, the price of electricity instead went up. In addition, privatization was not carried out in a genuinely level playing field.

While Epira sought to dismantle the super power monopoly named Napocor, two private groups had been gobbling up more Napocor plants than the others, giving rise to two private monopolies. Epira had not been so friendly with smaller power players, especially power cooperatives.

So, I support Energy Chief Jose Rene Almendras in calling for a review and amendments of Epira. However, since it will be Congress who will be tinkering with this law, ordinary power consumers should be vigilant. The big power players will also be lobbying in their favor.

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A neophyte congressman wants to set up crisis centers for street children nationwide.

With an estimated 75,000 children roaming around the streets of our urban centers, the crisis centers should be able to cushion the adverse impact of urban poverty and social decay on young children and teenagers.

Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. of South Cotabato should, however, input lessons from existing centers for street children operated by nongovernment groups.  Tambayan, a nongovernment drop-in center in Davao City, for instance, is calling attention to the prevalence of domestic violence in urban poor communities that pushes children and teenagers to the streets.

An independent film based on the experiences of Tambayan beneficiaries, titled “Latus,” is gaining wide attention and support in Mindanao cities. The powerful film immediately places you in the midst of a violent environment right inside homes with the apathy of neighbors as backdrop. Congressman Acharon and the rest of our legislators should see this film to be able to craft effective legislative measures.

During a brief Davao visit last week, I learned that after gaining recognition by Cinemalaya, the indie film “Latus” had been nominated to the New York Independent Film Festival. I just hope our legislators will be able to view the film before the rest of the world does.

With the enthusiasm of Tambayan beneficiaries for promoting the indie film nationwide and the response it is getting in Mindanao, I already see “Latus” as an independent film hit here and abroad.

I will not be surprised that well-meaning corporations are already considering the possibility of supporting “Latus” as a corporate social responsibility project.

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With Cebu now considered as one of the world’s top drawers of tourists, we should strive to be number one in the years to come. Lapu-Lapu City can very well help towards this direction by capitalizing on one historical asset that is known all over the world. The Portuguese explorer turned Spanish conquistador Ferdinand Magellan fell at the hands of Datu Lapulapu in the island of Mactan.

This piece of information is enshrined in history books studied by students and scholars worldwide. But come to think of it, the Sinulog has been more successful in attracting tourists in January than the Kadaugan sa Mactan in April. I believe the time has come for Cebuanos, particularly Oponganons, to bring the Kadaugan sa Mactan to the next level.

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