Latest Stories


The real power crisis

After his head-on collision with Mindanao governors, business leaders and civil society organizations in last Friday’s Mindanao Power Summit in Davao City, President Benigno Aquino III backpedaled a bit.

Perhaps realizing the folly of pushing for the privatization of Mindanao’s main power generating plants, the Agus and Pulangi hydropower complexes and inviting dirty and expensive coal and diesel power plants, the President softened last Monday and said he was  willing to have a dialogue on the issue.

This is baffling. Wasn’t Friday’s summit the venue for that dialogue? The President took the rostrum and declared lock, stock and barrel the full implementation of the privatization of government-owned power generation assets as mandated by the Energy and Power Industry Reform Act (Epira).

The President declared what everyone feared: “The era of cheap electricity in Mindanao is at an end.”

When asked about growing  opposition to the Agus-Pulangi privatization and that a manifesto was  coming his way to wake him up to realities down south, the President was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on  Tuesday as saying: “I will read it. But when I was there (in Mindanao), when I saw several governors, none of them told me that.”

This may be true, Mindanao governors he met may have found it redundant to tell him their stand. The power problems of Mindanao weren’t born yesterday.

The President who won the May 2010 elections on  slogans of “daang matuwid” and “kung walang kurap, walang mahirap”  should understand why Mindanaoans are aghast at plans to privatize the government’s power generation assets.

Mindanao suffered four- to six-hour daily power outages in the first half of 2010. Consumers cried out over power rate increases of as much as 80 centavos per kilowatt hour.

The reason for the spike was the privatization of the National Power Corp. Power Barges 117 in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and 118 in Maco, Compostela Valley.

Two diesel-fed baseload plants with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts (mw) were sold by Napocor to the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. in the waning years of the  Arroyo administration in 2009.

In a privilege speech two years ago, Abante Mindanao party list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez said  Therma Marine earned  about P3 billion in profit while the island was in darkness in 2010.

Cebu Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) party-list blames the Mindanao crises on a power cartel  of six families: Aboitiz, Lopez, Pangilinan, Ang and Cojuangco, Alcantara and Sy.

Instead of listening only to the peddlers of the Agus-Pulangi privatization scheme, P-Noy should have studied other sources of energy for the island-home of about 25 million Filipinos.

These projects could have been enough to fuel solid economic growth there in the next five to 10 years.

Sadly, aside from giving away the hydro plants to the power cartel, P-Noy is keen on contracting 800 mw of expensive coal and diesel-fed power plants.
Bad policy is the real crisis here.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Electricity production and distribution , Energy and Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) , National Power Corp , Power crisis , Power Generation , President Benigno Aquino III , Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vojie-Dosdos/100000607827922 Vojie Dosdos

    Let’s not cry over spilled milk.  In 2010, we voted for a power crisis.

  • to0

    There is no power shortage in Mindanao. All these that happens these few weeks is a concerted action by PNOY (A Chinese) who wants to privatize our hydroelectric generations which have been there long before he became President. It is anti Filipino to privatize these facilities because at the end of the day, the electric rate will keep on going up. What our Chinese Dominated Government should do is develop the geothermal potential of Mt. Apo to fill the gap of our electric needs, instead of selling our only assets to the Chinese.

    The brownouts just happen few days after PNoy was tinkering the idea to sell it to the Chinese. Mar Roxas is doing a disservice to the Filipino people. In fact, the Under Sec. of energy, Almendras was formerly connected to the Aboitize. It is not surprising that he is singing the tune favorable to the privatization and openning the electric generation to private parties which are mostly Chinese. 

    He he he! Not even once did facilities that were privatize and given to the Chinese has it’s prices go down. Instead, once privatize, we are held hostage by these profiteers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QZZKXPEA67I7HELEIYM35QVYFA Jon

    To those who voted for this incompetent and undeserving clown for a President:

    You are now paying dearly for your folly.  

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • 4.6-magnitude quake hits Surigao del Norte
  • Camilla’s brother dies of NYC head injury
  • Nepal officials go to Everest to try to end crisis
  • Escudero ready to defend self should name appear in Napoles’ list
  • Obama calls for peaceful end to island dispute
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Marketplace