Paperwork delays block Bohol’s plans to harness alternative energy sources

Red tape is delaying Bohol province’s plan to operate electric barges to ease the crippling lack of electricity in 47 towns and one component town, Governor Arthur Yap said on Wednesday (December 29th).

Appearance in the ANC program An advance, Yap urged Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Agnes Devanadera to approve necessary exemptions for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and three distribution companies electricity to tap into sources other than the still inaccessible flow of Leyte Island.

This decision is crucial, he stressed, as the NGCP struggles to repair its two downed Ubay towers which are connected to Leyte’s power sources.

The NGCP had earlier promised to connect electricity to Bohol by December 31, but Yap said the state-owned company recently missed its deadline.

“The NGCP cannot give us a commitment or a date when they can hand over their towers and connections to Leyte,” Yap said.

Yap, which also used mobile water filtration systems, building materials and road clearing equipment, told Kapihan sa Manila Bay that Bohol’s continued blackout was causing “a perfect storm for the people. cataclysmic proportions “for the 1.4 million inhabitants of the province.

Two weeks after Typhoon Odette (Rai) devastated vast swathes of Mindanao, the Visayas and Palawan in mid-December, no locality in Bohol had power.

It affects telecommunication signals even in cities where Globe and Smart have started repairing facilities, the governor said.

Twenty-five cities in the province still lack communication capabilities, he added.

“We can’t even coordinate the relief,” Yap said. Most of the information comes from relief relay teams bringing food and other essential supplies like water bottles and chlorine tablets to local government units (LGUs), he said.

Urgent messages

Yap sent “urgent text messages” to Devanadera, but said he had yet to receive a response.

Cusi, he added, told him that the applications from the electric utility companies were good as approved, but that the national agencies were still filling out the paperwork.

Yap thanked the 2GO group for sponsoring the shipment of the first batch of equipment from the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), two of the 13 vehicles that arrived at the port of Tagbilaran on Wednesday.

“The two basket trucks have arrived in Bohol after three days of travel and will be deployed to expedite the work of Meralco staff in helping our distribution departments restore our power lines,” he said. But without alternative energy sources, he stressed, these efforts will not matter.

National agencies want to ensure approved tariffs are not violated with the additional expense of tapping new sources of supply, Yap said.

But the governor of Bohol said the problem should not be borne by the residents of the battered province.

“It should be fair and harmonized across the country,” he said. “NGCP is committed to supplying electricity, this is part of its ancillary responsibilities and it is in law, part of its contract. “

The lack of basic services keeps many Boholanos in evacuation centers, Yap said.

While the province listed 70,000 people in evacuation centers when Odette struck, Yap said that number was rising and falling.

People leave to collect items from damaged houses, but return to “security centers” because families do not yet feel safe.

“So I would place them at 100,000 gathering in evacuation centers,” he said.

The province prepared 80,000 food packages for LGUs, but Yap reminded local general managers that they are the first responders in their communities.

Damaged houses

Yap said 90% of the province’s estimated 250,000 households or 375,000 families have been affected by damage to their homes.

The National Housing Authority said it would send 55 million pesos for distribution to LGUs, according to the governor.

“This only represents 11,000 families,” he noted.

The people of Boholano are ready to take on some of the work of rebuilding their homes, Yap said. “That’s why we asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ask their contractors to send chainsaws and local governments in the National Capital Region to send crane trucks. There are thousands of downed trees that we can use as a transitional shelter.

While provincial and national roads are now 90% passable, most have only one lane open.

“We need two lanes open to speed up relief,” Yap said.

“Food, water, IG sheets, hatches, tarpaulins to allow citizens to take care of transitional housing, material for chopping wood; please send them, ”he said. “Magbabayanihan ang ma tao. “ (People will show bayanihan.) –

Rosemary C. Kearney