Duterte warns Palawan officials: fix power disruptions by yearend or I will intervene

Published November 11, 2018, 8:31 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Argyll Geducos

President Duterte is giving the local government of Palawan and its energy cooperative until the end of the year to fix the frequent power disruptions in the island or he will find a way to resolve it in his own way.

President Duterte (Malacañang photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Duterte
(Malacañang photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the statement as he joined the launch of Palawan’s first ‘Subaraw Biodiversity Festival’ in Puerto Princesa Saturday evening.

In his speech, Duterte noted how Palawan is still suffering from six to eight hours of power interruptions.

“Yung inyong ilaw dito (Your electricity here), at this late of the day of development in the country, may brownout kayo na (you still have brownouts for) six to eight hours. That is not acceptable to me,” he said.

“On the extreme, maybe I will just give you guys, walang personalan ‘to. Trabaho lang (this is not personal, I’m just doing my job). I’ll give you about towards the end of the year a new setup that could provide enough energy to run a place and so that it can develop, operate and it can move. You have to upgrade your source of energy,” he added.

The President then said he will bring in big players, even foreign ones, if the local government cannot meet the said deadline.

“Kasi kapag hindi, ang gawain ko, maghanap ako ng may pera talaga (Because if not, I will really look for someone who has the money to do it),” Duterte warned.

“China nangangati ang kamay niyan eh (China is itching) just to get hold of developments here. I will expropriate your franchise. Bilihin ko ‘yan (I will buy that) at an evaluation that is fair, just compensation, to end this almost an impasse,” he said.

“I’d like to talk to the governor and si mayor, mag-usap tayo, magkape lang tayo sir sa opisina ko. Pag-usapan natin ‘to, because di ko maano na hanggang ngayon, at this age, mayroong electricity tapos napuputol (and the mayor. Let’s talk about it over coffee in my office. I cannot accept that until today, there are still power interruptions),” he added, referring to Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez and Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron.

Reports said residents of Puerto Princesa and Southern Palawan have been experiencing daily power interruptions since 2017 due to power line faults and problems in their independent power provider’s generators.

In his speech Saturday, Duterte said expropriating the power firms’ franchises would end the power supply woes in Palawan.

“I will allow other players to enter and I will allow them to buy you out and I will exercise the right of the state to eminent domain,” he said.

He also said that improving Palawan’s electric source is important as the province is a known tourist destination.

“You better come up with something or I will do something. [You only have power for] six to eight hours and you say El Nido for tourism,” Duterte said.

“Either do it or I will do it for you. I will wait (for) your decision. I will expropriate. That’s the only thing. I cannot confiscate,” he added.