KORONADAL CITY -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's intention to declare Mindanao under power crisis drew flak yesterday from an electric distributor and an opposition Mindanaoan senator.

Santiago C. Tudio, manager of the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative I, said the President has all the powers to solve the Mindanao power problem without putting the island in a state of emergency.

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"It's prone to corruption since there would be no bidding but a direct negotiation for new generation units to plug the supply deficit," he noted.

Arroyo said Thursday she would adopt the proposal of Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes to declare a crisis to allow the government to contract generation units for the southern Philippines.

Tudio castigated and blamed the government for the daily rotating power outages across Mindanao for failing to stem the crisis now hurting businesses and workers’ productivity.

Three to four years ago, there's already a projection of a power crisis to happen by 2012 but it happened early because of the El Nino weather pattern, the utility executive said.

Tudio said that modular generator sets, which are reportedly eyed to plug the power supply shortfall in Mindanao, are very expensive.

For his part, Senator Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. also nixed emergency powers for the President to solve the worsening power situation in Mindanao.

"You cannot discount the possibility of overpricing, of corruption if she's given emergency power," the Mindanaoan senator said.

Pimentel said that Arroyo can solve the Mindanao power problem even without emergency powers by tapping existing facilities.

He alleged that there are four idle power barges owned by the state-run National Power Corp. that can be tapped. But Mr. Pimentel failed to name these facilities.

The senator also doubted whether Congress could muster a quorum to authorize emergency powers for the President to solve the Mindanao power crisis.

Senators and congressmen are deep into campaigning for their reelection bids for the May 10 polls, he said.