PNoy to show real leadership at Mindanao Summit; says DOE agenda
killing renewable energy in Mindanao
QUEZON CITY –
Greenpeace today challenged President Benigno Aquino III to
demonstrate real leadership and political integrity at the upcoming
Mindanao Energy Summit by championing clean and renewable energy
solutions for the region, instead of anchoring the island’s energy
future on dirty coal power.
The environment group
made the call as it questioned the DOE’s coal-dependent energy
prescription for Mindanao, which it said has the twin effect of
extinguishing the island’s robust renewable energy potential and
condemning local host communities to a future of dangerous and toxic
“The Mindanao power
crisis is a test of President Aquino’s leadership and integrity. There
is more than enough renewable energy potential in Mindanao to address
the region’s current and future needs. Moreover, the enabling policy
that was meant to achieve that vision is already in place. It would
thus be a massive failure of leadership on his part if he chooses to
endorse harmful coal projects in the face of such clean, viable and
sustainable alternatives,” said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of
Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“Before he assumed the
presidency, P’noy declared that he was for the phase-out of coal power
and that the country must make the serious shift towards clean energy
sources. Last year, he counted among his achievements the National
Renewable Energy Plan, his vision of how RE will ‘rebuild the nation.
We sincerely hope that he goes beyond mere rhetoric by translating his
clean energy vision into reality. That to us is real leadership,” he
that the current energy plans of the DOE for
Mindanao are designed to promote the uptake of coal power. The
Mindanao summit, purportedly intended to convene stakeholders towards
the attainment of lasting and sustainable solutions to the island’s
power woes, has been preempted by the hasty approval of coal power
plants whose local acceptability continues to be contested by host
communities. Five more coal projects are being lined up in the next
few years, which Greenpeace says will effectively edge out renewable
energy options for Mindanao.
The National Renewable
Energy Program (NREP), launched last year by the Department of Energy,
shows how Mindanao is sitting on a ‘gold mine’ of renewable energy
resources that have yet to be tapped. The NREP itself pegs geothermal
potential at 290 MW, plus a current capacity of 103 MW, and 50 MW
worth of approved projects projected to be online by 2014. Current
hydropower capacity is at 1080 MW, with 1263.9 MW pegged as targeted
additional capacity. Wind potential is pegged at 336 MW, biomass with
36.8 MW waiting to be implemented, and solar power estimated at 5 KW
hours per square meter. With additional resource mapping these
potentials could be even higher.
that the rapid development of such energy sources should be enough to
meet the island’s current energy shortfall and provide for its future
needs. The deployment of these solutions, however, is being stymied by
delays in the implementation of the RE law, specifically the approval
of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) regime for RE projects, and by the
aggressive campaign against RE being waged by pro-coal interests.
Coal plants would lock
the people of Mindanao into at least three decades of reliance on
dirty and polluting fossil fuel, whose costs are expected to escalate
in the future. The group further warns that the approval of these
projects are being carried out without a balanced and comprehensive
examination of how renewable energy can similarly and more safely
address the island’s power needs.
Speaking on behalf of
host communities in Zamboanga, Barangay Chairperson Josephine Pareja
reminded the President of his promise: “P-Noy said that he will allow
Mindanaons to decide what sort of power we want. Well, we don’t want
coal, we want a clean energy future for Mindanao.”
For his part, Juland
Suaso of Panalipdan, a broad alliance of environmentalists and
peoples’ organizations in Southern Mindanao, said that "coal is not
cheap.” The costs of electricity from coal will likely go up in the
future and such increases will also likely be passed on to the
consumer. This past year, power rates have already gone up due to the
escalating price of fossil fuels. Why add this burden to the future
of already suffering Mindanaons when we have vast renewable energy
resources that can be tapped and are not affected by price
Greenpeace has been
proposing an Energy [R]evolution scenario for the Philippines, where a
massive shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures would
wean the country away from the rising costs of fossil fuels. In this
scenario, the Mindanao grid could be powered by as much as 57.16% from
renewable energy if measures are quickly implemented, rising to as
much as 77.34% by 2020.
Greenpeace is an
independent global campaigning organization that acts to change
attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and
to promote peace.
Go after the fugitives
Palparan and Reyes, not ordinary citizens and activists – Karapatan
QUEZON CITY – As the
P-Noy government continues to display its leniency on the case of the
two high-profile fugitives, former Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. and
former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, it has on the other hand, arrested
eight people, including a minor, on the basis of trumped up charges
such as kidnapping, rebellion, illegal possession of firearms, robbery
in band and terrorism.
that, “in a span of one week, and while the nation was about to
observe the holy week, the P-Noy government arrested and detained
eight persons: five in Nueva Ecija, two in Las Pinas, Metro Manila and
Bayan Negros Occidental secretary general in Bacolod. The latter was
arrested and detained but is now out on bail. All seven others are
currently detained, with no clear basis aside from the usual
fabricated cases. The police asserts that one of the persons arrested
in Las Piñas has a standing warrant of arrest for a supposed
kidnapping with murder charges. Those arrested in Nueva Ecija were
slapped with various common crime charges after their inquest.”
“We condemn this
government’s continuing pretensions of going after erring government
and military officials while in reality, its efforts are geared
towards hunting down people whom it perceives as its ‘enemies’. While
the likes of Palparan and Reyes who have clear charges against them
continue to roam freely, activists and ordinary people are arrested
and detained arbitrarily on trumped up criminal charges to conceal the
political nature of their arrests and detention,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez,
that, “in the case of Nueva Ecija, around 100 soldiers of the 56th IB-PA
and policemen under the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial office even
resorted to staging a gunfight with supposed members of the New
People’s Army (NPA) and planted evidence to justify the arrest of five
people, including a former political detainee and a minor. One of
those arrested was tending his farm when soldiers saw him and tied him
called on the P-Noy government “to stop persecuting people whom it
considers as ‘enemies of the state’. The more the government does
this, the more it proves to the whole nation that it is no different
from the Arroyo regime. The government should instead turn its gun to
the real fugitives and enemies of the people, those who are clearly
rights violators and criminals, those with real crimes against the
City Project to Put RP In World Tourism Map – PTAA
MANILA – Philippine
travel and tourism operators are looking forward to the PAGCOR-initiated
Entertainment City, Asia’s multi-billion Las Vegas-like gaming and
entertainment complex, to spark international and domestic tourism in
Ms. Aileen Clemente,
president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), said
the US$ 5 billion Entertainment City project of the Philippine
Amusement and Gaming Corporation will also generate huge employment
opportunities for tourism, travel, hotel, food and related industries.
“This will also spur
domestic tourism and generate huge employment following the rise of
several world-class, landmark establishments,” said Clemente, head of
the umbrella organization which represents the country’s travel sector
in various international and national associations.
PTAA is an
organization of the national associations of outbound travel agencies
and inbound travel operators sitting in the tourism councils of the
local government units.
Clemente called on all
sectors of society to support the project being spearheaded by Pagcor
Chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. – with the help of local and foreign
investors – as Clemente noted that the estimated one million annual
tourists’ arrivals to be generated by Pagcor’s mix hotel, gaming and
entertainment complex will result in significant increase in foreign
Clemente stressed the
PAGCOR project will be a big contribution to the country’s tourism
industry. It will draw foreigners’ attention to the Philippines.
She said it will put
the country in the international map, and will create a huge publicity
globally, and eventually attract people from abroad to come and see
the Philippines, and have fun in the country.
She noted that the
project will generate awareness in the minds of foreign travelers that
there is more fun going to the
than in other Asian countries because we have many beautiful places to
offer aside from the Filipino hospitality.
However, Clemente said
the government should ensure that gambling should not be made the
‘focus’ of our offer to tourists.
Gambling can only be
one of the elements of entertainment that we are giving tourists in
this new PAGCOR endeavor,” noted Clemente.
For local gambling
enthusiasts, she said the government should set some parameters to
play in the casino like granting of a permit to gamble, or giving them
limited access with the issuance of Identification cards.
“So they can show
their ID and pay certain amount if they want to play in the casino in
the Entertainment City. We can take a look at the Singapore model in
running this,” she observed.
Secretary Ramon Jimenez expressed optimism that PAGCOR’s multi-billion
Entertainment City project will make the country “more fun” to visit
and help DOT achieve its targeted 10 million annual tourist visits by
Jimenez said the
mixed-use entertainment complex, which is expected to attract at least
one million tourists yearly once it becomes fully operational, will
complement the DOT’s programs under the slogan: “It’s More Fun in the
“Any development that
involves attracting tourists is beneficial to our program to boost the
tourism sector. Pagcor’s
City will be beneficial to Philippine tourism,” Jimenez said.
“Gaming is only one
part of the Entertainment City. It will also attract the families of
players. There will be a comprehensive package, which includes tourist
sites in the City of
and other nearby environs,” he added.
Vegas-style facility is expected to generate $10 billion annually in
gaming revenues alone, of which 25 percent or about US$ 2.5 billion
will go to the government.
City will have a big impact on our tourism industry,” Jimenez added.
Jimenez also noted
that Chairman Naguiat is on top of the situation in so far as
accusations of impropriety hurled against him by casino magnate Steve
Wynn are concerned.
Jimenez said Wynn’s
accusations “will not have a major impact” on the Entertainment City’s
“The project is not
personality-based and Chairman Naguiat has the situation well in
hand,” the Tourism chief added.
DOE arm-twisting for ERC to fast-track power barge and
electric coop rates – anti-consumer
expensive power solutions in Mindanao: Poorest provinces to take hit,
not Cagayan de Oro or Davao
QUEZON CITY – The
Trade Union Congress Party (TUCP) slammed the proposed Department of
Energy (DOE) fast-tracking and expedited approval by the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the pending contracts and tariffs
between the Aboitiz-Therma Marine power barges and the electric
cooperatives as anti-consumer.
“The TUCP believes
that the President is being badly advised by the DOE Secretary. The
proposal which involves approval of the generation charge of Aboitiz
of P14 per kilowatt hour (kWh) will now pave the way for an expensive
tariff regime in Mindanao,” said TUCP Rep. Raymond Democrito C.
Mendoza. He explained that this will impact only the smaller cities
and rural areas serviced by electric cooperatives and not on the
“We are shocked that
this pro-power provider solution is being imposed on the developing
provinces such as Cotabato and Bukidnon. Why is it the struggling
rural areas striving to lift themselves from poverty and overcome
underdevelopment and peace and order problems the ones who will be
made to bite the bullet,” explained Rep. Mendoza.
TUCP pointed out that
none of the expensive solutions are being directed at the two largest
cities of Mindanao – Davao City and Cagayan de Oro. “It is the smaller
cities – Kidapawan, Tagum, Dapitan, Marawi, Mati, Bislig, Dipolog,
Isabela, Malay-balay, Koronadal and General Santos – that will be the
sacrificial lambs and the rural areas around them,” explained Mendoza.
“Is it because
provincial towns can be pushed around by the DOE and its attached
agency, the National Electrification Administration (NEA)? Is it
because they can bully the electric cooperatives using Presidential
Decree 269 as amended by Presidential Decree 1645 where the General
Managers of these electric cooperatives are appointed thru and by the
NEA Administrator? Is it because the General Managers of these coops
and their board of directors can no longer protect themselves and the
poor consumers from the importunings of the DOE Secretary?” pointed
out Mendoza. “Kayang-kayang takutin ng DOE at NEA ang mga managers ng
electric coops pero hindi nila kayang kausapin ang mga malalaking
pamilya tulad ng Aboitiz,” Mendoza added.
“Why couldn’t the DOE
Secretary instead have convinced the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc.
with its expensive power barges to moderate its financial
acquisitiveness and lower its rates from P14/kWh to P8/kWh? In fact,
why should the DOE resort to using outmoded, anti-democratic, Martial
Law-era Presidential Decrees to pressure and frighten electric
cooperative managers to buy expensive power from Aboitiz?” asked
TUCP pointed out that
the power provider in
is the Aboitiz group and that the distributor,
Davao Light and Power is also Aboitiz. “The city power
supply and distribution is owned by one family so they can already put
the squeeze on consumers anytime. The same situation also applies to
Cagayan de Oro with the Abaya-owned Cagayan Electric Power and Light
Company (CEPALCO),” said
Mendoza. “In these two
cities, the DOE will just distance itself as the oligarchs who own the
power system there can allow events to set the stage for them to
eventually bring up rates also,” Mendoza added.
TUCP explained that
even with the DOE providing a P9/kWh subsidy for power sourced from
Aboitiz-Therma Marine Inc., this will already put in place a de facto
high tariff regime which will tie up the electric cooperatives for a
multi-year period. TUCP pointed out that even should abundant
hydropower currently priced at P2.97/kWh currently become available
after the Agus-Pulangui repairs, the electric cooperatives are already
contracted to buy and distribute power from the more expensive
Aboitiz-Therma Marine Inc. Eventually this emergency government
subsidy of P9 will be phased out forcing the consumers to pay up the
full cost of generated power at P14/kWh.
“The DOE has
caricaturized the Mindanao power crisis as one whose answer lies in
meeting supply needs. That way all the DOE needs to do is lead us down
the path of least resistance: buy from the expensive Aboitiz-Therma
Marine power barges. But the truth is that the answer lies in
balancing the needs between supply and the cost of power.
Mindanao’s development was always premised on the provision of
cheap hydropower. This drives commerce and industry in
maintaining hydroplants as the main energy source with standby power
in the form of government-owned power barges. We believe that allowing
the National Power Corporation (NPC) more leeway in administering
their gross receipts – instead of remitting the same to PSALM – will
allow the full rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangui Complex.
TUCP believes that
lowering the reserve capacity of National Grid Corporation (NGCP) from
250 Megawatts (MW) to 150 MW would have readily released an additional
100 MW into the Mindanao Grid and that the fulfilment of
rehabilitation of Agus 4 would have raised sufficient capacity.
Instead DOE has pressured electric coops to buy expensive power from
Aboitiz-owned power barges and called for further repairs of the Agus
6 to create an artificial shortage of hydropower when it is most
needed. TUCP also remains opposed to the planned sale of 4 state-owned
power barges which can best be used for a last resort measure for
Mindanao or for when power shortages occur in Luzon or the Visayas.
Once rehabilitated, they can also be used to address the current
demand of Mindanao.
TUCP further warned
that DOE Circular No. DC2012-03-2004 in directing the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) “to support the enforcement of regulatory
requirements to implement the measures (power supply contracts)” are
actually go-signals for ERC to run roughshod over consumer interests
such as the right to challenge these proposed power rates in
participative and comprehensive public hearings in these small
impoverished provinces. “ERC will view this DOE Circular as the
blessing from the high and powerful to allow expensive power to be
sold to the poorest,” said Mendoza.
grants additional assistance to more than a hundred farmer recipient
of Agrikulturang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program
By AILENE N. DIAZ, PIA Northern
April 10, 2012
Samar – More than a hundred recipient of Agrikulturang Pantawid
Pamilyang Pilipino Program from the town of Las Navas were given
additional assistance by the provincial government as the provincial
counterpart initiated in line with the convergence program of the
Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and
Development and the Municipality of Las Navas.
are also beneficiaries of 4Ps program of DSWD whose farm land within
the 5 barangays of Las Navas are covered by irrigation project under
the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP).
Agriculturist Damian Acero said, assistance given to the farmers
include 100 bags of certified seeds and 100 liters of fertilizers.
Also, they were able to avail of farm mechanization program of the
province. Under the program, farmers-recipients availed of an easy and
non-interest bearing loan of two tractors, as an initiative of the
provincial government of
Governor Paul Daza
also instructed to give insurance coverage on the seeds planted by the
farmers so that the capital they invested will be insured and thus get
an indemnity when calamity occurs and destroys their plantation. The
provincial government paid 50 percent of the insurance premiums of the
farmers, while the other 50 percent was shouldered by the Department
of Agriculture through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation,
Through the assistance
of the provincial government and other agencies, Acero expects an
increase in rice production. He estimated a production of 120 cavans
per hectare as compared to the previous usual production of 30-40
cavans per hectare.
Aside from those
assistance mentioned, the provincial government continue to conduct
trainings for the farmers on the new technology and adopt strategies
such as Farmer’s Field School, technology transfer and organizing
19th IB eyes more
peace dialogues in Leyte villages
By 19th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
KANANGA, Leyte – The
Army’s 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion completed a total of 10
peace forums during the first month of its peace and development
campaign in the town of Carigara, Leyte.
This was learned from
Lt. Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, the commanding officer of 19th IB
after he conferred with his staff and subordinate commanders at Brgy.
Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte on Saturday, April 7.
Nacnac stressed the
importance of the campaign to the over-all mission of the 19th
Infantry (Commando) Battalion which covers the provinces of
Leyte and Biliran. Thus, he is eyeing to promote the said activity
to the other 39 barangays of Carigara and the villages in the other
towns of Leyte.
“The conduct of Peace
Forum is intended to build up among constituents, awareness on the
peace and development initiatives of the government. Our mission to
create a peaceful environment that is conducive to development shall
fail if these basics are not internalized”, Nacnac said.
A Peace Forum is a
multi-sectoral initiative to have a whole of society approach in
solving conflict issues. It is a conflict resolution activity where
people are given the opportunity to discuss and take action on the
most important issues affecting peace in their own communities. After
the meeting, election of officers for the Barangay Peace and
Development Organization is conducted to strengthen the community’s
advocacy to peace and development.
It can be recalled
that the first-ever Peace Forum conducted by 19th IB was launched at
Brgy. Upper Sogod, Carigara, Leyte on March 11. Peace forum were also
conducted in Brgys. Canlampay, Libo, San Isidro, Hiluctogan,
Candigahub, Tigbao, Paglaum, Canlampay and Camansi all of Carigara,
Leyte and Brgy. Gaas, Ormoc City.
Nacnac reiterated that
the presence of the military forces is neither a threat nor an
implication that there’s conflict in the barangays. Likewise, he
called for the support of the different agencies as the 19th Infantry
Battalion gears towards peace and development.
Over a thousand slots
await “summer jobbers” in Southern Leyte
By MARCELO M. PEDALINO, PIA Southern
April 4, 2012
MAASIN CITY, Southern
Leyte – The Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES)
project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) provincial
office here just got even more special this summer time, as more
qualified youths will be gainfully employed.
In a list of 2012 SPES
pledges faxed by DOLE to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), some
1,031 posts are up for grabs, mainly through the labor agency’s
partner institutions that included local government units, a public
school, and one national government office, the Department of Public
Works and Highways (DPWH).
Mario Tictic of
DOLE-Southern Leyte told PIA yesterday that for this year their office
was given an allocation of 1,500 students to be taken in for SPES
placement, also popularly known as summer job, so they still have to
fill in some 400 plus slots, this time in cooperation with private
schools which already signified their intention to join.
DOLE and their
respective listed partners are presently finalizing the papers of
students who had applied for this summer’s SPES, which will start on
May 7 for a 20-day employment period, while educational institutions
in the private sector like Saint Joseph College (SJC) and the College
of Maasin (CM) will start this June, Tictic informed.
government tops the list with 338 students up for hiring, followed by
the city government at 150 individuals, and Malitbog LGU came in third
with 110, then Sogod LGU at 100. Malitbog has the distinction of
hiring similar students for years in a row, even as it accepts new
SPES applicants, 80 students for this summer.
The public school
which participated in this program is the Southern Leyte State
University (SLSU)-Bontoc Campus.
Other LGUs with SPES
placements this year are Macrohon, Padre Burgos, Tomas Oppus, Libagon,
Saint Bernard, Anahawan, Hinundayan, Silago, and Liloan.
Most summer jobbers
have a daily rate of P150 per day, except for SLSU-Bontoc at P133 per
day, Maasin City at P180 per day, and DPWH at P250 per day. Salaries,
however, will be shared between DOLE and the sponsoring LGU/agency,
with DOLE paying 40% of the rate, and the LGUs, 60%.
Based on the list,
DOLE sets aside a budget of P1,338,662.40 for 1,031 SPES takers
already pledged, while the combined counterpart of all the LGUs was
Last year, there were
only a little over 400 SPES slots reserved by DOLE for Southern Leyte.