Enough is enough: Duterte to fix Palawan’s power woes his way

Published November 5, 2021, 4:52 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has vowed to put an end to Palawan’s electricity woes by expropriating the franchises of the underperforming power providers in the province.

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the joint meeting of the NTF-RTF ELCAC in Region IV-B in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Nov. 4, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

Duterte, speaking at the Western Command Gymnasium in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Thursday night Nov. 4, said he would issue the expropriation order as early as next week.

“I was shown a letter, itong operator ng ano (the operator of the), the last time I was here, I confronted them. Iyong sulat pinakita ni [Senator] Bong [Go] (Bong showed the letter), three year hence, walang nangyari (nothing happened),” he said at the tail end of his speech.

Before this, he lamented over the sorry state of electricity in Palawan, residents of which have been forced to deal with rotating blackouts reaching up to eight hours long.

“So I will be discussing with [Department of Energy] Secretary [Alfonso] Cusi, we will take over and i-distribute namin sa inyo ‘yan (we will distribute it to you). You cannot claim ano, you cannot claim exclusivity, you cannot claim private interest because itong ilaw (electricity) is impressed with public good,” Duterte said to much applause from the audience.

“So ‘pag ayaw ninyo (if you don’t want that), either you come to agree with us sa matter of compensation ninyo or I will order its expropriation. And I will do it — I will do it next week, I will issue the order,” he promised the locals.

According to Duterte, he cannot be blamed for what he’s about to do because three years have already lapsed and yet Palawan residents are still suffering.

“I was here three years ago. I confronted them about the sorry state of the energy situation. They wrote me a letter promising action that it will be improved. Until now, para tayong buang di (we are driven crazy),” he said, referring to the power providers, whom he did not name.

“So kunin ko na lang (So I’ll just take it). It is not a right. It is not a privilege. It’s a thing granted to you and government can take it any time,” the Chief Executive said of the franchises, again to much cheers.

“So ganoon na lang ang gawain ko. Wala, wala, hindi ko na kasalanan ha (So that’s what I’ll do. This isn’t my fault anymore).”

Duterte was in town to attend the joint meeting of the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in Region IV-B.