AS A MATTER OF FACT
By Sara Soliven De Guzman
The Philippine Star
Our overpopulated archipelago might ‘capsize’ any moment now! This is not a joke. It is not an exaggeration. The Philippines might sink in no time if we do not address the environmental issues not to mention our ever-growing population.
Right now, we have too many problems brought forth by Mother Nature but caused by our people. The enormous trash that we saw a few days ago in Manila Bay came from all the squatter colonies protected by different city mayors. This trash has not only clogged the drainage that resulted to floods but it has also caused sickness to spread around the different cities. Metro Manila surely is a dumpsite, full of filth and garbage.
With too many people in Metro Manila and now more of the population creeping to the outskirts, our government has a difficult time serving the people. In other words, its carrying capacity has already reached its limits. The government cannot obviously continue to build more hospitals and schools. It has to control the population. And how else can it control the population – of course by supporting the RH Bill.
I really do not see anything wrong with this bill. If they want to change the name and edit some of its contents to strike a balance with our Christian ways then do it. But the bottom line is, we need to control our mounting population.
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With more than 100,000,000 people and ranking as the 12th most populated country in the world, this little archipelago needs help. Big time! Even our electric supply sucks. Sanamagan!
Living and working in the cities requires reliable electric service so that we can perform our daily tasks at work and at home. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to choose an electric company. We even cannot compare rates, plans and services to get the best or the cheapest electricity that suits our budget.
I heard about a company called XHIMERA that will make it easy for Filipinos to obtain cheap electric service. I am not sure if there are other companies available of this nature. But I hope they start to grow just like the telecommunication companies who have proliferated in the recent years.
In 2009, the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) promulgated and adopted the rules of the Prepaid Retail Electric Service (PRES) or ERC Resolution No. 15, to provide consumers a choice for energy management strategies. The use of any prepaid metering technology is allowed for as long as it complies with ERC’s PRES standards and guidelines.
Pilot sites of prepay metering systems have been ongoing in various parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. XHIMERA systems, experts in electric prepay metering systems, has spearheaded such pilot areas in the following distribution utilities: Cabanatuan Electric Corporation (CELCOR), and Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative 1 (NORECO 1).
Aside from solar energy, this is the first time I have heard of such an electricity option in the country. How does this work? It works like a prepaid cellphone load. Consumers will purchase prepaid electricity loads or tokens from their utility provider or through accredited retail outlets. They can purchase loads or tokens in different denominations such as P50, P100, P500 or P1,000. Each load or token contains the complete information on the unbundled kilowatt hourly rates that have been purchased. There is a Home Display unit that comes with the package. Almost like the CIGNAL cable TV package that also can be loaded up through prepaid services.
This technology is already used in 84 countries. XHIMERA (the Philippine-based company) utilizes the Standard Transfer Specification technology (STS) published by the International Electrotechnical Commission as the IEC62055 series of specifications. I hope we get more options to help resolve our electricity dilemma. If this system works, sooner or later we will be able to obtain reliable electric service, lower electric bill, and increase energy efficiency in this country. As it is, the Philippines has the highest electric rates in Asia. Sanamagan!
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Last week, I wrote about re-assessing public safety. Mr. Norman Cabrera, Secretary-General of Ang Kapatiran Party pointed out that there are groups who are committed to gun control. One of these is the Ang Kapatiran Party who together with Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Inc. and ABA Party-List petitioned the House of Representatives to enact Citizen Protection Act 2010 – an Act to Regulate the Bearing of Firearms and Deadly Weapons in Public Places, Provide Penalties for its Violation, Provide General Amnesty and Financial Rewards for Voluntary Surrender and Decommissioning of the same and Appropriate Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes.
This Act would have been a simple, practical measure that, among others, will: bring down gun-related crimes even if it is not election time when the gun ban is strictly imposed; assist the PNP and empower communities in peace-keeping by facilitating the arrest of violators and confiscation of their weapons. This Act will also help the police distinguish criminals from plainclothesmen or from those with permit to carry, or from bodyguards; keep in jail gun-bearing criminals and insurgents by imposing the punishment of imprisonment of not less than twelve years and one day nor more than twenty years without parole and a fine of not less than fifty thousand pesos nor more than three hundred thousand pesos; end private armies by assigning regular members of the PNP, the AFP, the National Bureau of Investigation or duly licensed /authorized Protective Agents of Private Detective Agencies to provide security to private individuals or public officials for a specified duration; and put an end to illegal firearms by giving rewards to those who will voluntarily surrender unlicensed firearms with no questions asked and without incurring any criminal or civil liability.
In the Senate, Senator Franklin Drilon filed on July 5, 2010 S. No. 129, An Act to Regulate the Carrying of Firearms, Provide Penalties for its Violation, and for Other Purposes, also known as the Firearms Regulation Act of 2010.
But neither of these two pending bills gained progress in Congress. On the contrary, in the House of Representatives, a new comprehensive firearms law is in the pipeline. Besides instituting the current practice of issuing permits to carry firearms to individuals, the proposed law also provides for five (5) types of licenses on gun ownership: Type 1 (not more than 2 firearms), type 2 (not more than 5), type 3 (not more than 10), type 4 (not more than 15), and type 5 (more than 15) Susmariosep!
When these measures were “gunned down” in the House, it meant more citizens being gunned down. This is exactly what is happening today. So, where’s the political will to protect the citizens of this country? God bless us!