DavNor tourism dips; new Senate probe on power outages pressed

IMPROVEMENTS. The Samal Consumers Welfare Coalition is calling on the local government of the Island City Garden of Samal to improve the power situation on the island.
IMPROVEMENTS. The Samal Consumers Welfare Coalition is calling on the local government of the Island City Garden of Samal to improve the power situation on the island.Rj Lumawag/SunStar File Photo

A GOVERNMENT agency has noted that the usual strong inflow of tourists in Davao del Norte still needs to be seen deep into the summer season.

This developed as a new Senate inquiry is being pushed as power outages continue to hound the region under the franchise of the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco). The senators said that brownouts have badly affected tourism.

Last April 23, 2024, the Maritime Industry Authority in Davao Region (Marina-Davao) told a GMA News interview that there has been an uncharacteristic decline in tourist arrivals in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), once a favorite destination of summer travelers. 

Marina-Davao Regional Director Felisa Orongan said that island-hopping operators have been lamenting the weak business this summer.

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib and Igacos Mayor Al David Uy, among other leaders, have long warned of a tourism decline if the power outages pestering Davao’s growth areas could not be solved soon.

Over at the Senate, two Dabawenyo senators and their party mate in Partido ng Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) recently filed Senate Resolution 981 calling for a legislative inquiry on the power problem of Igacos and other parts of Davao Region. 

Senate Resolution 981, filed by Sen. Christopher Go and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa of Davao together with Sen. Francis Tolentino of Tagaytay, is seeking a congressional review of Nordeco’s performance.

The Resolution asked the Senate Committee on Energy “to assess the capability of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative to provide stable and dependable power supply to Igacos and come up with long-term solutions to prevent future power disruptions amid complaints of frequent power outages which have adversely affected residents and the island’s bustling tourism industry.”

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In calling for the probe, the three PDP senators emphasized the critical role a stable power supply plays in supporting local businesses, especially the tourism sector which is a vital component of the region’s economy.

The senators added that aside from scrutinizing Nordeco’s performance, they also want to ensure that the electric cooperative lives up to its mandate of providing affordable and dependable power supply to its service areas, including 16 municipalities, two cities, and two provinces in the Davao Region.

Senators Go, Tolentino, and Dela Rosa stressed that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to review the performance of entities that have been granted congressional franchises, and to amend or repeal such franchises when the common good is at stake.

Nordeco committed to address the brownouts in last year’s Senate inquiry on Igacos power woes. The senators said the promise remained undelivered. 

At the House of Representatives, a pending bill is seeking the substitution of Nordeco by Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) as the power distributor of Samal and Tagum cities as well as the Davao del Norte municipalities of Asuncion, Kapalong, New Corella, and Talaingod. 

The pending measure, docketed as House Bill 6740, is authored by PBA Partylist Rep. Margarita Nograles. Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Sandro Marcos, Camiguin Lone District Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, and Davao del Sur Lone District Rep. John Tracy Cagas are co-authors of the bill that aims to vastly improve power supply in Igacos and other parts of Davao Region. PR

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