THE well-oiled machinery of Nacionalista Party (NP) is wary over the incessant power outages in Mindanao that are expected to extend even after the hotly-contested elections in May 10.

NP standard bearer Manny Villar, during a press conference at NP’s caucus in Digos City last Friday, questioned why the National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) power plants are being simultaneously subject to maintenance shutdowns.

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“We have to get down to the cause of the problem. We have to review the policies on energy,” Villar said. “Baka masanay ang tao na may brownout.”

Although Villar concedes that the government must take steps to avert the worsening crisis, which has started to eat up the businesses in Mindanao, the NP standard bearer urges the people to be extra vigilant.

“I don’t have evidence but we have to be very cautious with the deals that the government will enter to avert the crisis,” Villar said, adding that “midnight deals” might be signed by the outgoing Arroyo administration with regard to power purchasing agreements that it may enter with independent power producers.

Albeit not revealing any details, NP spokesperson Gilbert Remulla said they have set up plans that will ensure the votes of the populace will be counted amid the power outages.

“Now, we are being made to choose between having brownouts or allowing the government to enter into power purchasing agreements,” Remulla said.

Remulla added that the nine-year long term of Arroyo has been remiss with regard to the power situation not only in Mindanao but throughout the country.

“The El Niño is not a new thing; we know that the El Niño is a recurring phenomenon, but how come the geniuses at the Department of Energy and the National Economic Development Authority are not smart enough to prepare for this?” NP spokesperson Adel Tamano, said in a press conference Friday.

“We have to ensure that the emergency powers extended to the government will not be used to enter onerous contracts with power producers,” he added.

As of March 4, 2010, the power situation in Mindanao has worsened with a total power supply gap of 650 megawatts.

Although clouds have been seen forming in the skies, the same has yet to turn to rain that will actually feed the tributaries that go to Lake Lanao and Pulangi River system, the two major sources of hydro power in the country’s south. (CPM)