Why Not Organize Power Consumers into Clustered Cooperatives…and let them operate their own energy source?

Why Not Organize Power Consumers into Clustered Cooperatives
…and let them operate their own energy source?
By Apolinario Villalobos

If power consumers or in layman’s lingo, the users of electricity will be clustered in cooperatives, many pains in the neck will be eliminated, such as:
-inefficient local power cooperatives
-MERALCO and the grid network system
-inefficient Department of Energy
-overdependence on fossil fuels such as oil and coal

The move, aside from encouraging the development of ideas on how to harness more renewable energy resources, can also promote:
-recycling of waste that can be transformed into bio-mass
-development of cooperation among local residents
-more awareness on the need to protect nature

The following is the macro plan:

Clustering need not be difficult to initiate as it can be based on the existing barangay system. The clusters may be composed each of 10 households. Those in the province can make use of the available energy resources that can be harnessed such as rivers, waterfalls, lakes, waves from the sea, or waste from homes and business establishments. Barangays without those resources shall make use of the solar energy. Households that are located far from the center of the barangay shall be provided with individual solar energy set. Schools shall be provided with their own solar energy set.

In the city, those that are in the heart of the metropolis can make use of the solar power and the same clustering system mentioned earlier for the province shall be used. However, those near the dumpsites can make use of the waste that is being accumulated for years. As in the province, schools in the metropolitan barangays shall also be provided with their own solar energy set.

Factories shall be required to put up their own solar power facilities, before they can be permitted to operate.

Entities such as MERALCO and others that set up the web of power lines, shall be required to dismantle them immediately.

Honest-to-goodness cooperatives, with all the barangay residents as members shall operate the system. No private entity shall be allowed to take part. Privately practicing professionals in the field of energy, particularly, renewable resources may be hired if necessary, but only as Consultants.

Protection for the facilities shall be provided by the cooperatives with the assistance of the barangay units.

The initial fund for the operation shall come from the Malampaya project which shall be sustained for at least three months. Subsequent operational expenses shall come from the minimal monthly membership fee paid by the members and the subsidy from the Malampaya fund. The monthly subsidy from the Malampaya project, shall be distributed among the barangays based on their population.

The cooperatives have an option to operate as savings and loans organizations, duly incorporated so that the membership fees can be utilized in revenue generating projects such as cooperative store, handicraft production, and loans for members. The subsidy from the Malampaya fund shall not be used in the revenue generating venture as it is against the policy, hence, held and secured in a separate account.

The project shall be audited on a quarterly basis by the Commission on Audit with copies of records provided to the barangay units, as well as, municipal and city Auditors for close monitoring.

The Metropolitan Theater of Manila…a showcase of grave neglect

The Metropolitan Theater of Manila
…a showcase of grave neglect
By Apolinario Villalobos

The Metropolitan Theater of Manila has stood for decades as the symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Even during the Japanese occupation, it persisted in operating, and was even used as a front for the underground movement that raised funds for the prisoners of war. During the time of Ferdinand Marcos, it was rehabilitated, and once more, became the venue of classic stage plays and operas, along with the newly-built Cultural Center of the Philippines. Unfortunately, when he was deposed, administrations that took over, utterly neglected the important cultural edifice.

Today, the theater is in such a forlorn state – dilapidated, with tiles peeling off, gardens left to the mercy of grasses, the galleries and lounges thick with dust, and walls feasted on by termites.

Ironically, just behind the theater is the Universidad de Manila that can possibly use it as an auditorium for their social activities. A few steps from the university is the Manila City Hall. And, still a few steps away is a mini-park that used to be called Mehan Garden, now full of overnight staying vagrants. A little further away is the National Museum. Across the street, on the other side of Taft Avenue is the Intramuros, while the famous Post Office, another important landmark of Manila stands, with its imposing fountain.

How can the city government of Manila and the Department of Tourist neglect such cornucopia of historic and touristic landmarks with its own cultural centerpiece, the Metropolitan Theater? How can they miss the stinking and deteriorating Metropolitan Theater that has become a sore thumb at the heart of the city? How can the city officials look far and beyond what needs immediate rehabilitation? The city officials talk about the eternal traffic which has no remedy in sight, as a publicity stunt. They talk about sanitation when just around the City Hall, corners stink with urine and human waste. The cluster of landmarks that should serve as the centerpiece of the city’s touristic showcase, and which is just a few steps from the City Mayor’s office is left to the mercy of negligence.

As an unsolicited suggestion, why not turnover the Metropolitan Theater to the Universidad de Manila for their administration and make it self-liquidating? Part of the rehab program could be the re-opening its office spaces to generate revenue. Schools can be encouraged to make use of the theater for their stage plays and other scholastic activities at minimal cost. Even assistance from international NGOs that advocate culture-related projects can be sought.

Unless something is done for the Metropolitan Theater of Manila, the unthinkable negligence can add up to the mounting culpabilities of both the Manila city government and the Department of Tourism.