Sixto, what’s happening to your PCOS in Tarlac?

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

Super-storms are the new normal. Climate change bodes that the likes of Yolanda, Ondoy, Sendong, Pablo, or Rosing will recur ferocious. To survive, not only local governments but companies too must prepare – now. Business-continuity planning so dictates. There was no rain when Noah built the Ark.

Many models await emulation. Among the best is Leyte’s Energy Development Corp. (EDC), the world’s largest geothermal producer, hit on Nov. 8, 2013, by history’s strongest typhoon. First Gen Corp. president/CEO Federico R. Lopez shares EDC’s lessons. Highlights:

• They took all precautions upon newsbreak of being in Yolanda’s path. Save for a skeletal force all personnel were told to stay home; travel to and from sites were cancelled; four days’ food and fuel were stocked up; landslide-prone areas were declared off-limits; gates, doors, windows were reinforced; bulldozers and backhoes were fuelled up and deployed to strategic sites for contingencies.

• The first hours after the storm were eeriest for the EDC head and branch offices, as communications with Leyte went dead. A search party sailed from the Sorsogon outlet for rescue and relief. Consequently all 743 employees were accounted for, their needs and damage assessed. EDC heavy equipment cleared the highway from Kananga to Ormoc City of fallen trees, electric posts, and debris.

• Despite being victims themselves, the employees swiftly joined rescue and relief in surrounding communities. EDC president Ricky Tantoco led a crisis group, with 20 top officers from various disciplines, which linked up with local officials to pinpoint immediate needs. Electric generators and tens of thousands of fuel were sent to the Kananga and Ormoc city halls, two hospitals, and the waterworks. Jets, heavy-lift helicopters, and giant barges were mobilized to bring food, medicines, relocation and reconstruction materials, and experts. It turned out to be the biggest disaster relief-rehab effort by a private firm. Eleven million meals were served; a million lives were touched. EDC helped resurrect not only buildings but also beings. A week before Christmas, it brought celebrity singers and comedians to Ormoc for a concert that gave verve and laughter back to the victims.

• Simultaneously damages in the power plant were repaired. Walls, fences, and the vulnerable cooling towers were redesigned to withstand up to 300kph winds. Gates and doors were replaced with thicker steel; glass windows equipped with metal covers. Geo-hazards were pinpointed; landslide-prone areas riprapped; brooks dredged and banks elevated. Disaster-proof communications systems were installed.

Lesson learned: disaster preparedness and response are crucial for instant business recovery and to the life of its host communities.

For full text of Lopez’s sharing, click to: http://lopez-holdings.ph/news/speeches/2014/770-remarks-of-federico-r-lopez-president-and-ceo-of-first-gen-corporation-and-concurrent-chairman-and-ceo-of-first-philippine-holdings-corporation-at-the-first-partnerships-for-disaster-and-climate-resilience-forum.html.

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Sacred cows versus the PCOS. Comelec head Sixto Brillantes Jr. is torn when those two things he worships clash. It shows in the mayoralty fight now rocking Paniqui, Tarlac.
Every time the precinct count optical scanner is criticized, Sixto goes into a fit. He dares info-techies to take him to court for defying the Automated Election Act. When the latter study the legalities he growls that they’re playing lawyer. Recently he told the Supreme Court to punish a Nueva Ecija judge. This, because the judge had granted a manual recount of PCOS results in the 2013 senatorial voting in three barangays. In truth the judge did no wrong. Voters there were not contesting the poll outcome past the allowed period, but only wished to know the truth. They were mostly followers of senatorial bet, famous Born-Again leader Bro. Eddie Villanueva, so wondered why he had landed only No. 19 in their three precinct clusters. (Oddly, Villanueva consistently was PCOS’ 19th in his Bulacan home-province and the Muslim Mindanao Region, in namesake Villanueva town, Misamis, and nationwide.)

Villanueva emerged No. 1 by hundreds of votes in the manual recount. That can’t be, Sixto stomped his feet at a subsequent Senate inquiry, for the PCOS supposedly is 99.995-percent accurate. He dissed not only the judge but also the petitioners, counters, techies, Villanueva, and newsmen who reported it.

Yet Sixto unusually is mum on the desecration of his almighty PCOS in Paniqui. Last month a losing mayoral candidate got a court manually to recount the PCOS results. Unlike the Nueva Ecija case, this was a belated, so prohibited, poll protest. The 2013 victor by over 3,000 votes, Mayor Miguel Cojuangco Rivilla, avoided illegal participation. His 4,238 votes in 15 precinct clusters were pared down to 554. Meaning, Sixto’s PCOS was 87-percent wrong, or only an evil numbered 13-percent accurate. With that, the loser forcibly occupied the municipal hall’s third floor and started issuing orders as mayor. Sixto let it all pass, via various alibis and technicalities. Why?

The reason became clear in an intervening event. The mayoralty loser’s spouse, a Paniqui councilor, charged Rivilla with fund misuse before the Tarlac provincial board. This was for paying the salaries of municipal workers in Jan.-Mar., while the town was running on reenacted budget. Although no offense actually was committed, the board – dominated by political foes – suspended Rivilla for 60 days starting Oct. 8. Although the elected vice mayor must assume Rivilla’s post, the loser insists on reigning. His backer is another Cojuangco, whose side of the family Sixto had served for decades as election lawyer. Bias matters not to Sixto in the very hometown of President Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino.

Meanwhile, Sixto is rushing to buy 41,800 more PCOS units, at a cost of P3.76 billion (P90,000 @). He wants deal sealed by Dec. 4 at the latest. This is despite his scheduled retirement less than two months later, on Feb. 2, 2015, along with two other election commissioners.

Why such hurry? Does the reason have to do with the other deity that Armed Forces chiefs used to worship – the one also with a capital “P”, for “Pasalubong” or going-away present?

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

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