Duterte to Pepito Alvarez, Palawan power coop: Stop outages or I will get new investors for energy franchise
President Rodrigo R. Duterte urged the energy distribution cooperative in Palawan to improve the province?s power situation or he would expropriate its franchise and sell it to ?major players.?
The President gave the ultimatum Saturday to the Palawan Electric Cooperative (Paleco) and provincial government officials led by Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Governor Jose Alvarez during a visit here to join the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival 2018, in line with the commemoration of the ?Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) Day.?
?I hold nothing against cooperatives, they are pioneering spirits. But on the extreme, maybe, I will give you about towards the end of the year [to have] a new set up that would provide enough energy so that it can operate and it can move. You have to upgrade your source of energy. Kung hindi, ang gagawin ko maghahanap ako ng may pera talaga ? China, nangangati ang kamay nyan just to get hold of developments here,? he said.
Duterte made this remark while lamenting Palawan?s power supply crisis causing frequent power outages.
?Yung inyong sitwasyon dito, yung inyong ilaw ditoat this late of the date of development in the country, may brownout kayo na six to eight hours–that is not acceptable to me,? Duterte said.
?Kung walang power, walang gumagalaw, walang produkto. That is the problem. I will simplify it for you,? he added.
Duterte said he would buy out cooperatives and allow major players to improve the province?s power situation, noting that the long-term power outages can be very critical to the progress and growth of the whole province and the everyday lives of occupants.
?I will expropriate your franchise. Bilihin ko ?yan at a valuation that is fair ? just compensation. Kung ganoon [lagi] dito? to end this impasse, i-expropriate ko yan, pabayaran ?yang cooperative then ipabigay ko sa mag-o-operate na bago. If you want, may mga major players. I don?t care kung sino. Marami ?yan sila, may [mga] partners. Gusto ninyo?? he said.
He added that he would not seize Paleco just to grab hold of it as a business, but the city and the province needed to develop with the help of reliable power service. If it could provide the energy requirement needed before the end of the year, Duterte said he would not interfere.
?Either you do it or I will do it for you. I will expropriate. There are basic powers of government – police power, the power of taxation? power of eminent domain. If there is not enough money, you have to bring in help. If there is no relief in sight, better begin to talk to the people who can help us,? President Duterte pointed out.
He asked Bayron and Alvarez to meet with him in Malaca?ang to talk about the problem and help them find a solution.
Puerto Princesa City and the whole province have been dealing with persistent power outages since early last year.
Paleco, the distribution franchisee, has blamed the prolonged electricity disruptions on the failure of its independent power producers (IPPs) to upgrade their facilities to deliver reliable energy supply when the demand peaks.
Based on the demand and supply for the Palawan main grid, the actual peak in the province as of October is 52.22 megawatts (MWs) opposed to the actual peak for the year in May which is 53.85 MWs and the forecasted 50.97 MWs. (PNA)