MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang wants everyone involved in the power shortage in Mindanao to be in agreement with the government in solving the crisis, which is expected to cause an increase in the price of electricity in the region.
Abigail Valte, one of President Benigno Aquino’s spokespersons, said this was the administration’s expectation from an energy conference which no less than the Chief Executive himself called to address the insufficient power supply in one of the country’s major growth areas.
The administration is expected to sell the idea of relying on diesel-fueled power barges to generate the needed capacity in Mindanao while the Agus 6 hydroelectric power plant is rehabilitated and two coal-fired power plants are built and made operational in 2014.
“We need to all be on the same page, as they say. We know the solution and we are all willing to do our share,” Valte said over the state-run radio station dzRB.
“It’s difficult to have a solution and yet nobody wants to take the proposed solution. What would happen is our countrymen would suffer because they’d be the ones who’d have no electricity,” she added.
Power distributors in the area have been hesitant to buy electricity from the power barges because of the higher cost.
“The first step is talking to all the stakeholders. (President Aquino) has said in the past that we all have to share the burden,” Valte said.
“There are solutions and we have to talk to the stakeholders, the electric cooperatives in Mindanao, our legislature, our consumers there and explain to them that these are solutions we are ready to give and that there would be an appropriate increase in the price of the electricity,” she added.
The government wants a blending of electricity from the power barges and one that is cheaper from the existing power sources to keep the increase in cost as little as possible.
Valte reiterated the government’s position that President Aquino doesn’t need emergency powers to deal with the situation in Mindanao.
Separate bills have been filed in both houses of Congress calling for the grant of emergency powers to the Chief Executive to hasten the procedures in securing enough electricity in Mindanao.
“President Aquino has said that everything that needs to be done is being done. So what are special powers for if the President could already do what he is doing now?” Valte said.
Valte said more expensive electricity from the power barges would not be used for 24 hours but only during peak hours in Mindanao.
“It’s just needed to augment the supply during the peak hours,” Valte said.