electricity inside and outside us

this week ed and i are  writing on rural electricity. we start with the 40 years journey of the electric agency NEA and its partners,  the rural electric coops.  i am impressed with the fact that we are one of the few archipelagoes in the world that has energized 97% of our 45,000 plus barangays. that is an achievement spanning five presidents! but the more remarkable item is the 8 million consumers served by the electric coops!when i went to bohol and busuanga , i saw every village with electricity, even the most remote sitios. the young people were in internet cafes and playing video games. i saw women tending stores with multiple services. one business i saw in turla is a three in one combo : bakery,drugstore and sari sari agri store . when i asked her electric bill for the month, she replied ” 1500 pesos po.” wow, that’s a lot to pay for energy. “why so big”, she replied  “kasi po, i bought a refrigerator, an oven, a tv, a dvd and an electric  fan .”   so i asked a tricycle driver  on my way to the hot springs .”how much is your monthly bill” “below 50 pesos po, may electric fan at radio po ako.”

so i asked the electric coops, who are the outliers in your network? there were many.  i met caloy itable of bohol electric coop. he is an outlier, a  general manager of diamond proportions. being quiet and humble, he stands tall among the managers, having served boheco 1 and 2, supplying the whole bohol island with energy for more than two decades. i heard twenty seven years but have to verify soon. when you visit bohol, it is well lighted and people are enterprising. see my photos in FB website and the loboc river cruise by nightime.

i met feisty women, one of which is edith bueno, NEA administrator. she is indefatigable and very committed to her work.  i am amazed at her command of the energy domain. she is a knowledge manager and can provide you with a panoramic view of the electric field. i told ed i will write her story in our new book on renewable energy and sex  (service excellence). she is light and good to be with.  her strength is in  whipping into shape many of the problematic coops in the islands. a formidable warrior of light.

there are three women i intend to get to know. there is marilyn caguimbal of batangas who stood her ground when all the erring board directors fought her when she and the unions  embarked on a reform move to oust the corrupt manager and directors.  “all the king’s men couldnt make her a humpty-dumpty”. i saw all the battles inside the  coop grounds and how the police and soldiers treated her.  in fact is she were a true wiccan, she made them dumpy and frumpy. there is also laureen malolot of siquijor electric cooperative. i heard many good things about her and she invited me to see siquijor . soon i said.  the other woman warrior  whose name i still cant remember is a director in batangas but i need to verify with marilyn  when i can meet her.

energy inside our country seems to be in abundance because the leaders have sustained their commitment to energize the whole nation. but with the climate change outside of our control,  where will we get sex or service excellence from other sources ? on the day we flew back to manila, the submarine cable serving the visayas broke and all the islands lost their energy. edith went into action and communication didnt stopped until some energy could be restored. ” this means all your electric engineers and crew will not stop to sleep nor eat until energy is restored?’ i inquired from edith. “yes, that is the rule we committed ourselves in public service”, was edith’s response.

we who complain when brownouts or power outages come dont know that many women and men go to” warwork” when  cables break or technology fails. the mission  the electric coops committed themselves to have been served well but we dont even know it. now is the time to take note of the illumination we all enjoy. mabuhay kayo sa rural electrification movement.

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