IPPs Should Address Power Crisis in Mindanao, Says Progressive Group

March 15, 2010

“LET the IPPs provide the reported power lack in Mindanao than declaring a state of emergency in Mindanao.”

This is the stand of Makabayan Coalition Northern Mindanao on Friday’s pronouncement declaring the island-region under a state of calamity.

Makabayan Coalition composed of the six progressive partylist groups, individuals and other political groups, calling on genuine politics of change, believes placing Mindanao under state of emergency bodes another questionable motive against a government that has a penchant for corruption and lies.

“What happened to the IPPs that were infact built purposedly to address a similar power crisis in the time of Ramos? If the EPIRA banned this, then there should be an exemption (to this ban) because the power consumers especially the poor households who bear the brunt of exorbitant power rates in Mindanao, has been paying this and will continue so for the next 10 years or so,” Kristin Lim, Makabayan Coalition secretary general said today.

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The IPPs were given 25 years to operate and since the 1990s until present, consumers have been paying these power generating companies through the power purchase adjustments (PPAs).

“We are suspicious on the timing of this declaration because the election is already fast approaching and with this new edict, government can now get its hands to the coffers of the LGUs, which sadly, has a track record of corruption and greed,” Lim said.

With the election less than 1 1/2 months more to go, administration candidates have been vocal in expressing they do not have enough funds to launch a tit-for-tat on campaign ads. Locally, there is a dearth of posters, and advertisements seen compared to opposition candidates.

“There are one million and one ways to divert now the calamity fund under the guise of addressing the power crisis in Mindanao,” she said.

Based on an earlier study conducted by non-government agencies here, in July 2002 around 6,594 MW of excess power were generated by the IPPs and which consumers failed to make use but continually pay through the PPA.

In Northern Mindanao, the IPPs are Minergy and the Mindanao Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Minergy has been providing the Cagayan de Oro City Electric Cooperative (CEPALCO) its energy sources. The coal plant produces 210 megawatt of electricity meant to augment the power needs of the island-region.

Despite the people’s strong objection against this environment-hazard coal plant, government insisted on its operation in 2006. “Now, it’s about time we demand from government to explain the real agenda of the setting up of the coal plant. Millions of taxpayer’s money are already wasted to questionable, unnecessary and even environment-hazardous transactions entered into by government and where is it now? Has the people benefited from these?,” Lim said.

There is also a strong need for consumers to be more vigilant as this declaration can be subject to several more emergency declarations this government can do in the next days prior to the election.

Early on Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes announced a planned purchase of modular generator sets worth P5.5 billion to address the power outages. “We cannot understand government’s paranoia on spending in this time of grave economic crisis when there are other alternative sources to addressing the power outages in the island,” Lim said.

For reference:
Kristin Lim
Secretary General
Makabayan Coalition Northern Mindanao

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