City Hall blackout

By: Alex P. Vidal

“In life, you can blame a lot of people and you can wallow in self-pity, or you can pick yourself up and say, ‘Listen, I have to be responsible for myself.'” – Howard Schultz

ILONGGOS waited on tenterhooks whether City Hall would pin the blame of the blackout to the Panay Electric Company (PECO) noontime on Thursday (November 28) that rendered all services inutile in the seven-story building.

‘Tis the season for PECO bashing, thus even if the Christmas lights in a barangay hall will conk out, many critics will immediately cast a malicious look at the controversial power company.

The power outage, by the way, prompted Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas to call it a night for City Hall workers starting at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

Operations in the city government rested two hours before five o’clock in the afternoon,

In his Facebook page, the city mayor announced: “To all the employees, grab this opportunity to rest and be prepared for tomorrow. We have decided to dismiss you for today’s duty because you can’t work efficiently without electric access for your computers and air conditions.”

It was the first major power interruption since Treñas regained the City Hall after the May 2019 elections.

And it jolted the city government.




So far, PECO “wasn’t the culprit” since there was no announcement or official explanation that followed when employees started to pack up and went home.

PECO’s enemies are only waiting to see the power firm slip on the banana peel so it can pulverize PECO in another propaganda joust.

The blackout would have been nipped in the bud if the standby generators were in good condition.

The new City Hall, a state-of-art building, was only fully utilized during the time of former Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, but has been giving officials and employees nightmares.

If the blackout was caused by PECO, two things would have entered the people’s imagination: either it was done to send a curt message to City Hall, which chided PECO for the obstructing poles and spaghetti wires in the streets and gave the power company until December 31 to remove them, or to remind City Hall of its purported unpaid bills.




INSTEAD of blaming the media for the 30th SEA Games hosting catastrophe, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, should be thankful that many of PHISGOC’s shortcomings and apparent mismanagement have been reported so that they will be able to identify the areas where they need to work double-time and fast track other minor delays before the official opening ceremony on November 30, 2019.

With or without the media, the alleged anomalies and mismanagement will not be swept under the rug.

Sooner or later, there will be questions, and from these questions will surface the itch from interested parties to call for an inquiry or investigation.

Again, this is how democracy works. We can curtail the press; we can’t hide things that demand public accountability especially how the taxpayers’ funds were handled and spent.

Media did not create the scandal. Media is there only to report what is going on and bring the event to the people.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)