Sanchez: Strong as its weakest link

I CANNOT bring myself to brag of Bacolod where I live as the Top Philippine Model City by The Manila Times in “The Philippine Model Cities” search.

In Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1786, we get this: “In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.”

Bacolod won based on the link of social indicators that included Peace and Security, Rest and Recreation, Research and Development, Health and Education, Clean and Green, Road and Home, Livelihood and Employment, Youth and Elders, Tax and Services, and Emergency/Disaster Preparedness.

Well, fine. But not included in the chain are public utilities. In this case, public utilities such as water and power.

Take water, for example. As of this writing, Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) is providing us with water from 11 p.m. up to 7:30 am. The rest of the day? Dry as the Atacama Desert in South America. That’s a mere eight hours at a time when we’re all asleep. What gives, Baciwa? And this has been going since Saturday, July 8.

Congressman Greg Gasataya bragged, “Bacolod City is indeed not just back on track but back on top,” adding that they will continue with their cooperation to address the concerns of the city that need immediate solution.

Okay, I like that. The Congressman should put the water needs of Baciwa concessionaires on top of the situation. Because the utility is obviously not on top of the situation.

And then there’s Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco). In its website, the power utility in a press statement “informed its consumers connected to Alijis Feeders that maintenance activities will be conducted on July 9, Sunday. This is to ensure stability of distribution lines to avoid further serious damages that will result to major interruptions.”

Last Monday, July 10, we got two brownouts. Where is the promised “stability?” it seems Ceneco has a different definition from that of its consumers.

But then, Ceneco has never promised power interruptions will stop. So Sunday’s sacrifice of a long brownout is fast turning out to be meaningless.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran crowed, “The award proves that Bacolod is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Indeed, Bacolod is back on track.”

Otherwise, the city’s power needs – or its lackadaisical generation – is starting to sound like the lessons we learn from that Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Some leaders care too much about what others think of them. These leaders hurt the administration of the city because they divert organizational resources toward the wrong outcome – their own ego needs, not that of the needs of their constituents. True leaders inspire others to follow them to fulfill strategic goals of making every link in the governance chain as strong as its weakest links.