Duterte now backs coal plant amid long blackouts

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Sunday, May 4, 2014


DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte appeared to have changed his heart -- from being a critic to a supporter of the coal-fired power plant being constructed at the boundary of Binugao in Toril, Davao City and Inawayan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del del Sur.

The mayor is now looking at the positive side of the Aboitiz-owned power project, saying this may be the answer to the long hours of rotational brownouts being experienced by the city.

The first unit of the P25-billion 300-megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant will be completed by March 2015, according to the AboitizPower Corp.

"I will tell the public that we need it. Pero ang atong sabot pag naa na na, dapat wala na gyud brownout, free na gyud ang Davao (They should guarantee us that Davao City will be spared from power outages once it will be completed)," Duterte said during a dialogue with the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) on Friday at the Grand Men Seng Hotel.

"Kung naa na ug mag rotational [blackout] na pud ta, pabuthon na lang nato na," he jokingly said.

Duterte said he supports the coal-fired power plant since the demand for power has gradually increased and there is a need for additional capacity to fully supply the continued demand.

He said the next generation would need most the additional capacity.

"Sagari na lang ninyo na. Make sure it is strong and competent enough," Duterte said.

Environmentalists oppose the construction of the coal-fired power plant in Davao City, citing its effect to one's health.

Meanwhile, Arturo M. Milan, executive vice-president and COO of DLPC, personally met Duterte and explained the rotational blackout in the city.

Milan said the DLPC, the city's power distributor, appealed to the Dabawenyos to bear with the inconvenience that power outages bring.

He said the DLPC is hoping that the repairs of the Steag in Cagayan de Oro City, which was shut down during the sudden collapse of the grid in February, will be finished today.

"Pag maayo na to, hopefully, sugod next week wala nay brownout during the off peak hours (Once finished, there will be no more brownout during the off peak hours)," he said.

The DLPC increased the hours of rotating power outages from one hour up to a maximum of four hours starting today, May 5, within the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. time frame and up to a maximum of two hours beyond the said time frame due to the much lower power supply coming from the Mindanao Grid.

"We do understand na apektado gyud, not only business sector. We are trying our best na mataagn sa ilang share. Pero naa gyud ta masakrispiyo. Iplano lang gyud maayo ang operations," Milan said. (ANC)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 05, 2014.

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