Business, political leaders want PGMA's emergency powers to solve Mindanao energy crisis

Mindanao power stakeholders,including congressmen and governors, have called for the granting of emergency powers to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo due to worsening power crisis in the southern island.

Seeing the need for a drastic move to solve power shortage from 6 to 8 hours a day in Mindanao, the Mindanao power stakeholders and local leaders urged Congress for an emergency session to address the immediate solution to the worsening power crisis which already badly affected thousands of residents, business sector especially major industries.

"To purchase power generator set will take many days or months and the President need this power," said Surigao del Sur Gov. Vicente Pimentel.

Surigao del Norte Representatives Francisco T. Matugas and Guillermo Romarate also voiced their sentiments on the ongoing power curtailment imposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

"At present, we are suffering 8 hours power curtailment in our province particularly in island towns," Rep. Matugas said," adding "the President should need this emergency power now".

Surigao del Norte Rep. Philip Pichay and Agusan del Norte Rep. Jose Aquino also supported the call for the emergency power of the President.

In a power stakeholders meeting called by Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus G. Dureza over the weekend in Southern Mindanao frontier city of Davao, the island?s largest Davao Light and Power Company also recommended an immediate congressional action, granting President Arroyo the emergency powers to address the worsening power crisis.

"Through the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance we are willing to come up with an urgent resolution calling for it," said Davao Light and Power Company official Manuel Orig said.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 provides an electric power crisis provision allowing the President of the Philippines to establish additional generating capacity, as the Congress may authorize.

The proposal to declare Mindanao under a state of emergency first came out from Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez after the NGCP announced that Mindanao might face a shortfall of four megawatts on May 10, in time for the national and local elections due to low water level of the Mindanao grid in Lake Lanao and Pulangi River in Bukidnon.

Dureza welcomed the proposed resolution by the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance.

However, he was apprehensive that the public might view it as a political spin.

"It is very important to set the facts clearly first by telling the public the real situation of Mindanao power. This way, we could convince our legislators that a drastic move is needed to address this crisis," added Sec. Dureza.

Initially, Dureza, Mindanao Super Region Champion and Presidential Assistant for Mindanao, recommended for the establishment of an information desk where all concerned agencies may dispatch information regarding power crisis to reach the general public.

Meanwhile, the Mindanao Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce will also come up their resolution to help alleviate the worsening power crisis in the southern island. (muc/PIA-Caraga)

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