Pimentel downplays ‘failed polls’ scenario with Mindanao power shortage

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Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III EDWIN BACASMAS

MANILA, Philippines — Team PNoy senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III twitted on Sunday, allegations by the opposition that the current power shortage in Mindanao could be a prelude to a sabotage of the outcome of the automated election in the region.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) has already made an assurance that Mindanao will have additional power by 2015 as indicated by committed projects in the region. Earlier, Aboitiz Equity ventures said Mindanao will be among the focus of the company in its P85-billion investments in the next four years,” the reelectionist said.

He added that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the DOE have also made assurances that measures have been undertaken to address the energy issues in Mindanao until 2015.

Earlier, the Comelec also assured the public that the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines could function for several hours despite a power outage.

Candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) opposition coalition earlier aired warning that groups out to sabotage the elections in Mindanao would likely take advantage of the power outages given the fact that the PCOS machines rely heavily on power.

Without adequate power supply, the opposition claimed that the PCOS machines might fail to transmit results and this situation could lead to a failure of elections.

“For the opposition to say that the administration could take advantage of the situation in Mindanao to rig the results of the May 13 polls is to me plain grandstanding. They can do better than that,” Pimentel noted.

Fellow administration bet Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, on the other hand, urged the DoE to “immediately contract out power barges for brownout-plagued areas of Southern Mindanao to ease the rotating power interruptions in the region.”

Angara, incumbent Aurora representative, said the government should enter into negotiated contracts, if necessary.

“The DOE is now governed by a culture of integrity. So even the use of negotiated contracts just to acquire power barges is an option to fast-track the solution to the power problem there,” Angara said.

Angara said the surge of business activity and its resulting increase in power consumption have caused power interruptions in Southern Mindanao. Nonetheless, he said, these should be seen as signs of business confidence and economic dynamism in the region.

Mindanao has at present a power shortfall of 294 megawatts. The demand is at 1,157 MW while the actual supply is only 863 MW.

Angara adverted to reports that said the government has earmarked P3.8 billion for the country’s power capabilities.

He said the budget has included allocation for the rehabilitation of existing hydroelectric power plants in the south. The government is also looking into the possibility of using a 300-MW interruptible power load plan to solve the island’s power problems.

Angara said the inclusion of power projects in the public-private partnerships list by President Aquino has guaranteed solutions to the power problems in the medium term and the long-term.

“The focus right now should be on looking for short-term relief and acquiring power barges via negotiation as an option,” Angara said.

Angara said negotiations to acquire power barges could be monitored by civil society and good governance groups.

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  • Sultan Kirat

    Imagine no kuryente.
    It’s not that hard to do.

  • BatangSingapore

    taga mindanao na nagsasabi at dadayain ng team abnoy ang darating na eleksyon o kahit man lamang pumasok ang isa pang abnormal at traydor na pinsan ni panot sa senado. bantayan nyo maigi ang hocus focus na magaganap.

  • JasonBieber

    So PNoy only cares to have power in Mindanao just to get votes? He doesn’t care to get power to less fortunate Filipinos regardless?

    Actually, thanks to the Comelec…a failed elections will not be attributed to the power or lack thereof, it will be because the PCOS machines aren’t working properly.

    They say that the machines can work hours after there is no electricity…well they make be running but they are not working properly coz even now the machines are still spitting out the ballots.

  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    This reminds me of 1992.

    At the height of the massive brown-outs and rotating power interruptions across Metro Manila back then, the outgoing president Cory promised that power will be restored before her presidency ends. Now, PNoy’s administration promising to have a smooth election in May 2013 in Mindanao despite the power shortage will end up like Cory’s false assurance. By the time Cory’s term ended, power was still down across NCR. Traffic in EDSA even worsened due to dead traffic lights and poor planning of the fly-over constructions. Cory’s relatives who got into the small generator business prospered because of special import duty exemptions granted by Cory’s administration (chief of which is Tessie Oreta’s husband who in turn contracted intsik hardwares along Tetuan, Alonzo and Recto in Binondo to retail the generators). Lahar continued to flow from the foot of Pinatubo and destroy lives and properties in its path. Displaced families in Pampanga continued to be displaced. Baguio was not back to normal 2 years after the North Luzon Earthquake. Justice for two much-publicized victims of cold-blooded murder cases, Maureen Hultman and Eldon Maguan, remained elusive. The Vizconde Massacre was mired in false leads. Peace and order in the country was non-existent. In the countryside, foreign missionaries and powerless folks continue to be at the mercy of brain-eating cultists. Except for Lopezes, Mother Lily of Regal Films and the Aquinos / Cojuangcos, the entire country was not doing good at all. The year was 1992. The day was June 29. One day before getting out of office, Cory left the country in shambles, much worse than when she found it.

    Meanwhile, there’s a reason why PNoy and LP hooked up with 9 Ampatuans running for election. Because they’re going to cheat in May 2013. (reference: “Backhoe Politics” PDI Editorial Nov 22, 2012)

  • Concur_Dissent

    The power shortage in Mindanao can only be permanently addressed by being proactive rather than reactive relative to power generation, transmission and distribution strategies.

    Currently, the government reacts like a fireman trying to put out fires on ad hoc bases. Entering into contracts with power barges and rehabilitation of existing hydroelectric power plants are important why not, but these only address the current power requirements of Mindanao.

    Power barges are short term fixes. Even if we succeed with sourcing enough power barges to address the current shortage, how will we respond to ADDITIONAL power requirements as Mindanao continue to develop? Enter into new contracts for power barges? Absurd, right?

    Rehabilitating existing hydroelectric power plants are short term fixes. Even if we rehabilitate a power plant to restore to its original power generating ability, this will only bring us to the level of its output based on the original construction, meaning, if the power plant originally generates power for 100,000 houses 20 years ago and now this plant was successfully “rehabilitated” to its original condition, it can still generate power for 100,000 houses. But what about the power requirements for houses built during the past 20 years? Short nanaman….

    What we need is the political will to start “NEW” constructions of power plants, development of power source alternatives, IMPROVE AND UPGRADE power transmission and distribution capabilities (poor power transmission and distribution capabilities means power inefficiencies). This will result in generating not only power requirements of Mindanao but will also create jobs from the construction of new infrastructures.

    Why is this plan not acceptable to politicians? This is because most of them only have a strategy for the short term (elections 2 to 3 years down the road). Power barges nga naman will solve immediate problems di ba? Benefits from new power infrastructures, transmission and distribution upgrades takes time before we can see results…. Ayaw ng mga politicians yung hindi agad nakikita na resulta!

    • Simplify1

      I concur….Political will can only be brought about if the senate, house and the president are working in harmony. A split house or senate can effectively derail any long term strategies. It is very rare the we elect a President na “matuwid” notwithstanding the existence of the noisy and minority detractors of PNoy. Now is the time to enter into new construction contracts while we have a president who abhors graft and corruption. Electing at least a 10-2 team PNoy senatorial ticket win will definitely

      • pammisymonds

        $85 associate degree hour! Seriously i do not recognize why additional folks haven’t tried this, I work 2 shifts, a pair of hours within the day and a pair of within the evening…And whats impressive is Im engaging from home therefore i buy longer with my youngsters. Heres wherever I went, — Buzz80.ℂOℳ

  • Castronaut

    hopefully they address this issue not only for a smooth elections, but for everybody in the future. power outages shouldnt be an issue at this point in time….

  • TylerZO

    good to hear they are doing some changes for the long term, not just for the 2012 elections…..

  • wangad onlee

    UNA thought of it, so the possibility that they (UNA) will do it is high. and they (UNA) are just mind conditioning the people that the pinoy team will be the guilty culprits. parepareho lang kayo oy. di ba.

  • XY ZEE

    Kaya walang pake si Kuko sa Mindanao ay kasi sinusuka siya ng sarili niyang baluatre.
    Tanong niyo kung bakit ayaw niyang tumakbo muna sa local at maraming magsasabi na hindi man lang mananalo sa CDO yan.

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