By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday urged the government to ensure that contingency measures are in place as the country braces for the entry of tropical storm “Ambo.”
Gatchalian noted that some parts in Metro Manila recently experienced power outages despite Meralco’s assurance that the power grid will be stable and there will be sufficient energy supply throughout summer.
Even if the whole country is dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Gatchalian said the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Electrification Administration (NEA) should take appropriate contingency plans to avert any possible power outages during the storm.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) has already hoisted Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 over the northern portion of Eastern Samar and the eastern portion of Northern Samar. Weather forecasters said “Ambo” is expected to enter the Bicol region, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila.
“Hindi pa man natin lubusang natatalo ang COVID-19 ay muli na naman tayong masusubok sa mga ganitong pag-ulan (We haven’t won the battle against COVID-19 and yet we’re about to experience another challenge with this storm),” Gatchalian lamented.
“Dapat lamang na pagtuunan ng pansin at paghandaan ng DOE at NEA ang mga ganitong mga sitwasyon upang masiguro natin ang tuloy-tuloy na serbisyo ng kuryente sa panahon ng pandemya, (It’s only fitting that the DOE and NEA focus and prepare for this kind of situation to ensure unhampered electricity service during this time of a pandemic,” Gatchalian said.
“Electricity is crucial at this time . It may mean the life and death of Filipinos not only in hospitals but those who are in their homes as well. That’s why we expect the government to fully prepare for TS Ambo and succeeding typhoons while restrictions in movements are still up in many parts of the country,” he said.
The senator said power distribution utilities can put their own emergency response organization (ERO) on stand-by in case there’s a need to implement without delay their appropriate emergency response plans.
He also suggested that other methods, such as line clearing, buffer, and critical facility preparations be also implemented by power distribution utilities.