LANAO del Sur is the home for the well-known Lake Lanao, the second largest lake in the country and the source of the hydroelectric power plant of the National Power Corporation (NPC) for Mindanao and even in other parts of country.
The province is the home of the hopefuls and peace-loving Muslims who would want to be recognized as a self-sustaining community.
However, because of many socio-political issues surrounding the government and the people holding positions, hopes and dreams of the Lanao people would sometimes turn into nightmares.
In the past decades, we have been experiencing normal brownouts, raising bills, unreported illegal tappers, to name a few, in the Lanao electrification system.
On a daily basis, communities in Lanao have different protests against the LASURECO and its power system.
Isn’t it ironic? We own the lake that supplies almost 90 percent of Mindanao’s electric power source and yet we don’t have a stabilized and normalized system in Lanao until today.
To whom are we going to throw our century-old queries?
To the ones who read our electric meters? To the LASURECO general manager? To the NPC administration?
Or to the alleged NPC tax recipients who didn’t give what is due to the folks of Lanao?
We are indeed living in this world of questions when the issue on the LASURECO and its NPC debts are talked about.
Nonetheless, we are still fortunate that there is a government in this country that would still listen to the cries of the Lanao people.
On August 7, 2014, a meeting on the power situation in Lanao del Sur was held and organized by the local and the regional government at the Marawi Resort Hotel Club House to discuss the Memorandum Circular No. 65 of the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
This Memo Circular 65 is the creation of an Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) to oversee electrification programs and projects of distribution utilities in the Philippines.
This committee’s creation is composed of co-chairpersons from Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) and the Department of Energy (DOE) with its members coming from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of National Defense (DND).
For the electrification within their respective areas, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) shall likewise serve as adhoc members of the committee.
On the said meeting, the secretaries from the country’s departments (DILG, DOE and DND) came all the way from Manila to Marawi to explain to the community stakeholders the purpose of the MC No. 65 and to announce the new LASURECO board members to manage and implement programs of the IAC.
Secretary Jericho Petilla of the Department of Energy (DOE) affirmed on the said affair that their inclusion in the committee and their visit here was not to undermine the LGU of Lanao and LASURECO’s management but to give a solution to the power crisis situation in Lanao as ordered by the Malacañang.
Timeline for the project implementation was shown to the almost 700 attendees coming from different sectors in Lanao.
Further, Sec. Mar Roxas of the DILG reaffirmed that they are here to help. “Let there be light!” is part of his opening statement.
He emphasized that electricity for every household must be implemented to have a better life for the Lanao people.
Lastly, Secretary Gazmin (DND) announced that they are very much willing to strictly implement the resolutions for the Lanao electrification system planned and to be implemented by the IAC.
Again, this change has again awakened the hopes and dreams of the Lanao people. We are just hoping that this plan will be put into reality.
We, the Lanao people will always be fighting for our rights and forever be hopeful for a better Lanao!
(Professor Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph is currently the chairperson of the Communication and Media Department, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.)