“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” –Jack Kerouac
Eyebrows rose during a rally last Monday in Iloilo City’s Plaza Libertad when placards that read “Pro-Panay Electric Company (PECO)” were shown in opposition to the entry of rival company More Electric and Power Corporation (More Power). Who were these protesters? Where did they come from? Who organized them? Who knew there were Ilonggo power consumers willing to risk life, limb, and reputation for the much-maligned PECO?
It wasn’t until the placards were put on display that anybody knew PECO had a fan club. Do they hold social activities or regular meetings? When was the “fan club” founded? (Just curious)
PECO, which is currently lobbying Congress for a renewal to its franchise (it expires on January 19, 2019), has been serving Iloilo City for nearly 100 years but has grown unpopular due to reportedly poor service, negligence, astronomical consumer bills, dilapidated meters and lamp posts, among other serious shortcomings.
Visit any Iloilo City barangay today and seldom will one find a resident (power consumer) that does not spew vitriol against PECO; much less refuse to utter derogatory words against the company when asked whether they are satisfied with their services.
For most Ilonggos, PECO is like Mary Magdalene – cursed, condemned, and about to be stoned. The company needs Christ to protect them from the stone throwers and is hoping Congress will be that miracle workers. They also need a miracle to obtain a 25-year franchise extension, which is in the hands of a congressional committee. Such circumstances make it inconceivable there were people defending PECO while More Power was wooing city officials during the regular Sangguniang Panlungsod session.
Where were the angry protesters when thousands of Ilonggo power consumers were crying for justice after alleged injustices committed by PECO? It’s bizarre they didn’t hold a similar rally compelling PECO to honor its obligation to the public, stop making life difficult for consumers, provide better services, and modernize.
Since the pro-PECO demonstrators are also power consumers, were they not affected by PECO’s purported abysmal services? There are two schools of thought when it comes to blocking the entry of a power firm promising to provide better services, manpower, and equipment for local consumers despite having “zero experience in the power distribution industry” and could potentially “plunge Iloilo City into darkness.”
They either want a rat-infested home with hope authorities will kill the rats, even if the owner does not initiate the extermination; or they are willing to live with the rats, as long as authorities don’t burn down the entire house, and wait for authorities to punish the owners (even if they do nothing afterwards), allowing the rats to reign supreme.
The regular Ilonggo power consumer is fed up and could care less if the rats are killed or the house is burned down to the ground. They just want to transfer residences./WDJ