Sometime ago, the reference to the term is “black out.” Meaning, there is no current available to light or energize any electrical device. It was changed to “brown out” to soften the implication. Nonetheless, the effect is the same: people used to run their business, go about their daily routine, are disrupted and yes, almost unsettled. Electricity has become a necessity which government must provide the people either through its initiative or through its policy in enjoining that sector providing such service to the people.
I once had a visitor from Japan last week who was surprised when lights went off as we were having our coffee. There is no such thing, electrical failure that is, in Japan. During the ancient times in Japan perhaps but at this point there is none. Japan’s electric services also are cheap because they are using nuclear energy, the one which the Marcos regime built in Bataan but was mothballed as a political statement. Almost all advanced and developed countries; especially neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia have addressed power failure. It is only our country, like some remote barrios in Africa where energy matters are still uncontained.
A strong government faced with regular brown outs has no other recourse but take over the energy services. During Marcos regime, it confiscated that firm which was distributing electricity erratically. He even jailed the owner! During Ramos presidency, he allowed the private sector to come in and de-monopolize the distribution of electric power. Then legislation was introduced limiting this specific sector from engaging in generating power, limiting it only to the established sector, even at the cost of poorly engaging the requirements, the growing requirements of the business community.
As it were, the common man is left at the mercy of reliving the past, when electricity was just being introduced, when power was merely a figment of imagination. The worker must hold down his performance, business should slow down, traffic must grind to a halt, hospitals must construct more chapels, schools must review their classroom exposures to the barest minimum. Everyone must adjust. Everyone must sacrifice. This, while government is in the process of locating who and what to blame. Meanwhile, we are back to Stone Age.
In my case, I have to dust off my good old typewriter and revisit the shelf in bookstores for the “touch and go” eraser and carbon paper. I also would try to let go my gadgets which are heavily dependent on electricity—-like cell phones, laptop, ipod, aircon, tv, microwave, washing machine, CCTV etc. If government cannot do anything about restoring power in a normal way, then I might as well forget it to ease tension and evade depression.
I will just cover my gadgets, properly pack it until such time government realizes its role, its powerful role, in governing a country and realizing the importance of electricity in putting the country back on the road of civilization.
Until such time, I have my matchsticks ready, with some candles and perhaps dynamites if push will come to shove.
(Note: Mindanao is presently suffering from daily 6 hour brown out. And it is not even in one sitting for the day. The period is scattered all through out the 24 hour period. I will not be surprised if one day, Mindanao will manifest its own destiny as another State since there is no organized and functional leadership concerned about rendering basic services to its provinces. Sad.)