By ABRAHAM M. DE CASTRO
I am writing this letter to clarify inaccurate perception of facts regarding the recent televised State of the Nations Address (SONA) of President Aquino, particularly the “Sitio Electrification Program”. A video featuring Mountain Province and the Municipality of Bauko depicted the Municipality was in a state of darkness and electricity only arrived recently. The data stated 2,019 households in 111 sitios were beneficiaries of electricity courtesy of this project. Bauko Mayor Abraham Akilit stated in the video that many lives have changed when electricity was introduced. And, electricity gave livelihood to the people since it invigorated electric powered machines and also gave students access to the internet. The mayor goes on to say that much development in the Municipality of Bauko was due to the introduction of electricity.
Although the President made a statement prior to the presentation of the video that the Sitio Electrification Program was a project to complete the inventory made by the Department of Energy for places around the country that had no electricity yet, the video presentation was seemingly depicting that Bauko had tasted electricity or some kind of civilization only just recently. And this perception was probably making an apparent conclusion that had it not been for the sitio electrification project of the President, the Municipality of Bauko wouldn’t have been emancipated from darkness.
After the SONA of the President, almost all of my friends who are not from Mountain Province told me that they didn’t know that the town of Bauko had no electricity at all! Not only that, they have this perception that without Mayor Akilit’s effort, Bauko will still be in a state of limbo.
I had to clarify that actually, Bauko had electricity already back in the 1980’s. It was through the efforts and hard work of my brother in law, the late Cong. Victor S. Dominguez (who was an Assemblyman then), that accomplished this. In fact, Mountain Province had electricity ahead of the province of Benguet which was geographically closer to Baguio City. And if my memory is right, I could even recall that the advance electrification of Mountain Province ahead of other provinces, was an issue of envy among public officials from other Cordillera provinces. And sometimes this issue served as a determining factor among voters in choosing their assemblyman in their province then. I also told my friends about comments made by tourist in the past who were on their way to Sagada, that they found the situation silly whenever they exit Baguio City at night. They said that the Province of Benguet was totally engulfed in darkness but as they reach Mountain Province, they feel relieved as the area was already lighted.
With all honesty, I have nothing against the project of President Aquino since it actually helped the Municipality of Bauko achieve full electrification for the entire area. And if the culprit for this confusion could be attributed to the poor editing of the video, I just want to clarify certain perceptions about this matter. Modesty aside, the late Congressman Victor S. Dominguez even donated a parcel of his land in Bauko to the Mountain Province Electric Cooperative (MOPRECO) which serves as their Substation in the area. And this act of philanthropy should attest to the late Congressman’s accomplishment and sincerity to dispel any misconception regarding the electrification of Bauko.
Thank you very much, more power and God bless. # nordis.net