Leadership test

September 30, 2018

It takes political savvy and deep discerning leadership to settle grassroots or communal squabbles.

Such delicate balancing act is an ancient art mastered by a lucky few who have been so gifted.

To be sure, this political art is not for the faint-hearted or weak in the knees.

Indeed, this is the true, ultimate, measure of a leader--the ability to unite warring factions and make them march forward together at the pace and towards the direction that he or she has set.

In short, it's all about agenda—setting and consensus- building.

And the record clearly shows that she has been there and done that—and still is able, eager, and willing to lead the way.

And so the challenge posed here should be a walk in the park for her.

The leadership of Speaker Gloria Arroyo is being tested in the unfolding power play—or power struggle, if you may—between two parties for the right to distribute electricity in Iloilo City.

If she doesn’t play her cards right, a widely unacceptable and unjustifiable resolution of the two-way contest for power distribution franchise in the city could be her Waterloo.

The major players in this unlikely drama are the Panay Electric Co. (PECO) which has been supplying electricity to Iloilo City over the past 95 years, and the More Minerals Corp. (MMC) which, as the name implies, is a mining outfit wishing to diversify into the utility business.

The MMC is reportedly backed by the Phil United Party which is reputedly a GMA ally, while the PECO enjoys the support of key industry players and stakeholders, as well as a pertinent regulatory body and the Ilonggos at large.

PECO’s franchise is due to expire in January 2019 and the company is asking Congress for a renewal as embodied in House Bill 6023 filed on July 22 last year by Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo.

An incisive look into the background of both firms will show that PECO has the clear advantage, having the experience and technical know-how mustered over nearly a century, along with a P2-billion electric distribution system to efficiently do its job.

MMC, on the other hand, virtually has nothing to speak of, save its P10-million capitalization. No track record, no experience, no transmission lines, no transformers. Nonetheless, the MMC wants the franchise for its own as proposed in House Bill 8132 filed on August 22, 2018 by Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting.