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No energy to debate

by Francis C. Dela Cruz

I thought that the wait for the presidential debate to begin was unbearable. I was wrong. The actual debate was even more unbearable.

I had the urge to just watch another movie, but I fought it off as I have read in the news that the debate will tackle climate change and energy. I thought that it’s reasonable to hope that those applying for the job of president of a country that is deemed most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, would come prepared.

I am glad I didn’t watch a movie, as I witnessed a very entertaining debate. I don’t think it was a great debate, but it surely was an entertaining one. The recorded pre-debate banter between the candidates was even more entertaining. They were very quick in exchanging jabs about the confusion on the debate rules, commented on their OOTD (outfit of the day), toilet breaks they’ve had and who was sharing dressing rooms with. Thank God, it was shown only after the debate, lest the urge to watch a movie would have been harder to manage.

I give it to Luchi Cruz-Valdez for the gallant front and valiant effort to keep the candidates in check and reminding them to stick to the agreed debate rules. She was quite good in keeping her composure and playing her role amidst the confusion that apparently, also came from her.

If the debate was the venue for candidates to present and clarify their standpoint on critical issues such as climate change and energy, then that was a let-down.

I was all ears when Secretary Mar Roxas mentioned the need for the country to transition to clean energy. After checking with my housemates, I did hear correctly that he mentioned natural gas, hydro and geothermal energy only.

Senator Grace Poe fired-off a good line on the need for action to mitigate the impacts of climate change but missed to answer the question on coal plants. She saved herself by mentioning solar and wind power, but I thought she could have elaborated more.

They both mentioned the need to review the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to allow for more investments in renewable energy.

I thought Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s comment was a bit off-mark as he lamented the “hypocrisy of the United Nations” on climate change. He even mentioned the visit of former Vice-President Al Gore. Vice-President Jejomar Binay didn’t have much to say about the issue.

Perhaps, I am just an optimistic fool, but I’d take the pronouncements of  Roxas and Poe on renewable energy and reform in the power industry. I hope that they will use the campaign period to articulate their vision for the development of clean and sustainable power sources for the country. Maybe, they get the another chance in Round 3 a month from now.

If my home is powered by solar or wind energy by then, maybe the wait for another entertaining debate on TV would be more bearable.


Photo taken from Philstar.com.

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