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Polls seen in Petilla campaign

/ 12:41 AM March 05, 2015

DAVAO CITY—Militant legislators are viewing with suspicion the high profile campaign of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to raise public awareness on the government’s projection of an electricity shortfall, attributing motives other than consumer welfare to the campaign.

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said he finds it odd for Petilla to be doing the rounds of media outlets to talk about rotating brownouts when the Department of Energy data showed enough generating capacity to fill the projected shortfall in electricity this year.

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“Is the energy secretary using the rotating brownout bogey not only to justify the grant of emergency powers to President (Benigno) Aquino (III), but also and more importantly to boost his own senatorial plans in 2016?” Zarate said in his statement.

Zarate also said Petilla is “peddling the rotating brownout scenario” even as he “bombards the airwaves and newspapers with his energy saving tips.”

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“There is more to this phantom shortfall than meets the eye,” said Zarate. “These are nothing but advance campaign ads masquerading as energy tips,” he said.

He said if big power players are bankrolling or supporting Petilla’s electoral bid, the public should be forewarned because consumers are the ones directly hit by oppressive power rates.

In Mindanao, Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority, said good things are coming in for Mindanao, and power is one of them.

Antonino said that compared to previous years, Mindanao’s power supply situation has greatly improved and could withstand the ongoing maintenance shutdown of a 200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Misamis Oriental.

Antonino said for the first time since 2009, Mindanao is expected to have excess power supply this year as soon as two more coal power plants—the 300 MW Therma South and the 200 MW Sarangani Energy Corp.—go online.

She said, though, that the activation of more coal plants should be balanced by the introduction of renewable energy projects. Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Campaigning, Carlos Zarate, Department of Energy, Energy Crisis, Jericho Petilla, Power crisis, rotational brownouts
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