Blackout takes toll on Samal's tourism

POWER blackout on the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) is now taking its toll on the island's tourism industry as small resort owners complained they have been losing some P5,000 daily from their operation.

The blackout is caused by the damaged submarine cable of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco), connecting the island to the electricity grid. The cable was hit anew last March 17 by M/V Ecuador ship's anchor.

“Tourism industry is now affected, but it is not limited to resorts alone, but also for other businesses especially those that extremely rely on electricity. We visited some of the small resorts last weekend and they said they are losing about P5,000 per day because of this (power blackout),” Jenny Garcia, Samal tourism officer said in Monday’s Kapehan Sa Dabaw at SM City Annex.

But she was quick to add that tourists should not worry much on the matter as most of the more than 70 registered resorts on the island are equipped with generator set.

Garcia said Holy Week is the peak period where tourists flock the island. But they are expecting a decline for this year as the power situation in Igacos is yet to be addressed.

Last year, around 300,000 visitors were recorded on the island during Holy Week.

According to the assessment conducted by Daneco, Garcia said that the submarine cable was totally damaged and it needs a total repair which will take a longer time.

At present, the Daneco has requested the Mindoro Grid Corp. (MGC) to provide a generator set that can provide some 8 Megawatts (MW). The island has an estimated power demand at 5 MW.

According to Daneco-National Electrification Administration (NEA), the generator set is expected to arrive in the island by March 28.

“We made all means to make the gen set delivered as early as possible, March 28 is the earliest possible. No available commercial vessel to deliver the gen set, only private. The generator will be coming all the way from Luzon, hopefully before March ends, electricity will be back in the island,” Daneco said.

Daneco manager Charles Bejod said in a statement that they are now presently working on the possible legal action they can take against the owner of the vessel that is liable of the accident.

Lieutenant Commander Dan August Carino, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Sta. Ana Station Commander for his part said that the party of M/V Ecuador ship admitted its anchor hit the submarine cable unintentionally.

The local government unit of Igacos with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Engineering Office will provide generators to the Samal Water District for the consumption of the water stations particularly in Peñaplata station 9 in Babak (Lawig).

This will also be the source of water for distribution to barangays. With this, the barangays are requested to put drums along the highway. The public is requested by the local government to take extra care in using candles during the blackout period to avoid fire incidents.

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