Thursday, April 4, 2013

Drilon: We'll not pass on problem to next administration; Pimentel offers lasting solutions to Mindanao power crisis

Team PNoy senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Thursday /Apr. 4 called for immediate and lasting solutions to the Mindanao power shortage, saying this is crucial in propelling economic growth and social progress in the region.

“We should move decisively to meet both the current and future electricity needs of Mindanao,” Pimentel told a media briefing at the administration coalition headquarters in Makati City. “With peace in the horizon, it should be so much easier to propel economic growth and social progress with the construction of more power generation facilities."

Team PNoy campaign manager, Sen. Franklin Drilon, in the same media briefing, said the government has allocated P4.4 billion for the purchase of generator sets to alleviate the problem while the coal-fired power plants are being built.

“The Mindanao power crisis is a problem we inherited," Drilon said. "But rest assured that we will not pass it on to the next administration. We will work on it and solve it during the term of President Aquino."

As Mindanao continues to reel with up to eight-hour brownouts daily, Pimentel offered short-, medium- and long-term solutions to address the power crisis.

Idle power plants should be brought back online to maximize their use while allowing privately-owned generators to participate, added Pimentel, who shot up to fifth place in the latest Pulse Asia survey among senatorial candidates in next month's mid-term elections. 

He also batted for the use of small, hydro-powered generators. 

“Let us find a way to bring them online at the soonest possible time so at least mas kokonti at bababa ang shortfall,” Pimentel said. “Definitely by next summer, it will not be as bad because I’m anticipating that 'yung offline plants ngayon will be online by next summer.”

The medium-term thrust, according to Pimentel, should be the rehabilitation of the Angus-Pulangi hydro power complex while the long-term goal  should be the construction of more base-load power plants that can handle the increased requirements of Mindanao  and the exploration of alternative sources of energy like solar, bio mass, wave energy, wind and geothermal, among others.

“By end of 2014 or early 2015, the shortfall will be met by the plants being built now, which will come online at that time,” Pimentel said.


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