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NEDA: Mindanao's power problem must be addressed

February 4, 2013 1:48pm
For Mindanao to realize its full potential, the region's energy and infrastructure deficiencies must be addressed, the head of the National Economic and Development Authority said over the weekend.  

"One of the most binding constraints to realizing Mindanao’s economic potential is the energy situation,” NEDA Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said at the Mindanao Development Forum in Davao City.

Balisacan noted that in 2010, during the peak of the El Niño phenomenon, some areas in the region “experienced eight to 10 hours of power interruptions, which...severely affected business operations, not to mention home, school, medical and other activities.”

“Based on the 2012 Mindanao Power Supply-Demand Outlook of the Department of Energy, the Mindanao grid will require a capacity addition of at least 394 MW over the next few years to meet the growth in peak demand and required reserve margin until 2016," he said.

Off-grid areas must also be served with power capacity additions, Balisacan added.

Mindanao's infrastructure problems must also be dealt with to spur progress, said Balisacan, “particularly roads that will connect our urban areas with production pockets to ensure the smooth flow of goods and mobility of people.”

The signing of the landmark peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year that created the new political entity of Bangsamoro has created more opportunities for development in Mindanao, he said.

In 2011, Mindanao contributed only 14 percent to the Philippines' gross domestic product. But if the region's energy and infrastructure problems were to be addressed, said Balisacan, its share can be expected to increase. — BM, GMA News
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