The lights suddenly went out late Friday night, Aug. 20, 2021, plunging parts of Visayas, including Cebu, into darkness.
It had been awhile since the metro experienced a “brownout,” especially one that lasted more than an hour.
It was disconcerting, to say the least, knowing that many people were in hospitals and hooked up to ventilators and whatnot, battling for their lives as Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), ravaged their system.
My anxiety was allayed when I realized that patients were in good hands since hospitals are equipped with generators and had sufficient fuel that could provide temporary electricity for hours on end, which, in the case of Friday night’s brownout, lasted well into Saturday dawn.
Posts circulating online blamed the power outage on a fire that struck a power plant in the City of Naga, but this was quickly dispelled by the energy company.
Fake news, it described the posts.
Whoever initially pointed his or her finger at the energy company was doing so out of spite or pure malice. Because where would they get that idea, considering it was so specific? And shouldn’t whoever is responsible be held accountable for spreading lies on the internet.
My friend Maria Victoria Beltran was arrested last year and detained for 90 hours for a sarcastic post that Cebu City was “the epicenter in the whole solar system” of Covid-19.
She was later charged with allegedly violating Republic Act (RA) 10175, or the Cybercrime Law; RA 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One law; and RA 1132, or the violation of mandatory reporting of certain diseases.
Of course, the charges were dropped with the judge ruling that her satirical post was “constitutionally protected speech.”
Meanwhile, I don’t see anything satirical with blaming the energy company. And before I continue, no, I am not connected to the company. And no, I am not getting paid to defend it. I just want the source of the post to realize the seriousness of his or her action.
Need I remind the person or persons responsible that Cebu is in the middle of a health crisis? Many people are genuinely afraid because the number of Covid-19 cases continues to go up and there seems to be no letup.
Trust me, an hours-long power outage doesn’t help already frayed nerves, especially since the City Government recently banned the selling of liquor.
Yes, this column is not about the brownout or irresponsible netizens, it’s about the liquor ban that is really uncalled for, as it deprives many sari-sari stores, convenience stores, groceries and multi-million-dollar firms of their source of income.
Why attribute the spike in Covid-19 cases to alcohol drinking? Indeed, it’s like blaming an energy company for Friday night’s brownout.