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Opinion

Thanks to the haunted elevator

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

After super typhoon Odette hit Cebu City, almost all Cebu-based radio stations went “comatose”, including our station dyHP RMN Cebu.

Our transmitter was devastated and the generator sets were damaged. We tried our best to resume broadcasting so we can do public service. Yes, after two days from that tragic incident and after fixing our generator sets, we have gone back on-air.

We experienced the agony of falling in line to buy diesel for our generator sets. Thanks to some gasoline stations that realized on that the broadcast industry is one of the frontliners we were given the privilege to fall in line separately together with the other frontliners.

Our next problem was how to sustain the huge requirement of diesel to carry out our broadcast. Our operational expenses skyrocketed as our daily broadcast became very expensive.

To cut costs, we decided to sign on at 4 a.m. and sign off as early as 6 p.m., contrary to our usual sign-off at midnight. We gave priority to news and public service programs so that by that little way we can be of help.

Most of the time we conducted interviews with our government officials, made important announcements, and gave situational reports from the field. Like always, we endeavored to make our station the credible source of information.

I remember the good news that we broke on-air and with the good feedback was that CEBECO has energized its franchise areas in the north of Cebu. It was followed by another positive news that VECO started to energize some of its franchise areas.

These pieces of information were very material for this meant that at least water refilling stations and gasoline stations in those places have gone back to their normal operations. People were relieved. At least, we have options already to spread out in looking for drinking water and gasoline.

VECO announced that the power will be back 100% on January 31, 2022. In the meantime, it has given priority to hospitals, MCWD water pumping stations, and vital installations. This is understandable. Hence, I set my mind not to raise any question on the matter.

Our broadcast center is in Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City. When our neighbor, Cebu Doctor’s Hospital, was energized, we perfectly understood that it should be given priority. But when we noticed that all the establishments that surrounded us were already energized, and our building was left in the dark, I started questioning at the back of my mind. Yet I still set my mind to be patient and understanding.

However, the incident on January 1, 2022 triggered me to call the attention of VECO already when the elevator in our building operated despite the absence of power. Our security guard was able to take video of the incident.

Some of the members of my staff were scared that there were unseen elements or spirits that operated the elevator. Although many may not believe in such superstitions, some started to entertain such an idea.

Hence, when I interviewed VECO’s spokeswoman Quennie Sanchez Bronce on issues on the linemen, I also raised our unusual experience. While I entertain the possibility of unseen elements, I was also suspecting that our building might have power supply already and need to be verified to prevent conflagration.

Bronce was able to talk to our technical people on the matter and which led her to have our building checked by VECO’s linemen.

Finally, last Tuesday, January 4, our station was energized. Thanks to the haunted elevator!

I would like to express our appreciation to the full force of VECO and those from Davao Lights, Cotabato Lights, Subic Enerzone, Meralco, etc., who helped restore the power supply in Cebu.

TYPHOON ODETTE

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