by Myrna Velasco, 04 April 2015
from Manila Bulletin
In brownouts or in disasters – the Task Force Kapatid as institutionalized by the country’s electric cooperatives with the aid of the National Electrification Agency (NEA) — had been at the frontline in electricity service restoration and finally, their efforts gained Congressional accolade.
Via House Resolution No. 1581 recently issued in the Lower Chamber of Congress, the Task Force Kapatid as well as the thousands of its ‘unsung volunteers’ had been honored “for their heroism, selflessness and sacrifice beyond call of duty for working under adverse and harsh conditions to repair and rehabilitate power lines and stations,” especially when natural calamities strike or crisis happens in specific areas.
Congress has noted that with their self-sacrificing efforts, power supply had been immediately restored even in heavily-devastated areas.
The Task Force Kapatid had been a fixture in many ‘electricity service restoration endeavors’ – not just after the strike of natural calamities but even in areas which are thumped by other problematic scenarios.
The NEA, which is the government’s electrification arm, had been the task force’s unwavering guiding force. But in the Congressional honor extended to them, it was NEA’s parent agency – the Department of Energy (DOE) which shared the limelight.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla has noted that the volunteers were revered “most especially during the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda.” It was worth noting that their health and lives were in the line then in their render of service to the calamity-ravaged areas.
The energy chief has noted that “they (task force volunteers) did not measure how much they can give, rather they gave all under harsh conditions and short deadlines – that if given to others, they would have simply given up, but they didn’t.”
It must be recalled that Petilla at that time had given pre-Christmas deadline in power supply restoration for typhoon Yolanda-walloped domains.
Come cut-off date, however, the performance of concerned industry players and task force volunteers had fallen short because of several barangays still not getting back their electricity service.
Petilla then offered to quit his post at the department – only to be thumbed down by President Aquino. It was an exercise for the energy secretary though that had not been let pass without the harshest of criticisms thrown against him.