Duterte pushes railway system before his term ends

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Friday, December 6, 2013

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has expressed support to AboitizPower Corp.'s proposed expansion on its coal-fired power plant capacity from 300 megawatts (MW) to 645MW as this will address the energy requirement of his proposal to set up a railway train in the city before his term ends in 2016.

His transport proposal, he said, will need additional power capacity for the city.

"I'm negotiating for a railway train. It needs energy. I cannot do without additional power there. As we develop in the years to come, we'll need energy," Duterte said in an interview at Marco Polo Hotel Thursday evening.

He stressed that the proposed expansion of power capacity caters to the projected shortage of energy in the coming years. But he was quick to add that AbotizPower must also be responsible for the environment.

"Magka short tayo pag walang magpasok diyan sa energy sector. Maraming magtatayo dito na malalaking negosyo and it will require a huge energy. Sa computation na binigay nila, kukulangin sila unless they would come up with something else," he said.

Manuel Orig, first vice president for Mindanao affairs, said AboitizPower decided to expand the generation capacity of Therma South Inc. from 300MW plant in Binugao, Toril to 645MW "to commit the additional investment required to help ensure that Davao and Mindanao will have adequate supply to support its continued development and growth."

The Mindanao power supply shortfall is projected to reach 50MW to 243MW from 2013 to 2018, according to Orig, quoting a report from the Department of Energy.

He said the additional capacity of 345MW will be enough to meet the power supply requirements by 2020.

Meanwhile, on the proposed north-to-south railway, Duterte said, "it will also ease congestion in the city since it will be a very convenient way for traveling."

"It's good for the city," he said, referring to the proposed railway which he intends to complete before his term ends in 2016.

Duterte said he is presently negotiating with some Korean and Indian investors as he scouts for an international company that could provide him the least expensive railway train.

"Kanang gagmay lang, kanang MRT ug LRT dili nato kaya na. We do not have the money. We do not have the resources. That's why we go for the simple ones. (It must be) few feet above the ground basta dili lang mabahaan," he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 07, 2013.

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