Occidental Mindoro Governor Eduardo Gadiano said Friday the province has been placed under a state of calamity due to the 20-hour daily power outage for the last month and a half.
In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Gadiano said the province only has a four-hour power supply on a daily basis which has been affecting the livelihood and health of his constituents.
“We have 20-hour blackouts [daily]. We have a distributor [of power] here, an independent power producer, the OMCPC (Occidental Mindoro Consolidated Power Corporation). But since we only have power supply for four hours [in a day], businesses are closing down, even [fast food chains] Jollibee and McDo are threatening to close shop,” he said.
“The agricultural sector is also affected, since there is no ice [to preserve their catch]. Hospitals are spent, too, since they run on generator for 20 hours in a day. Otherwise, people will die," he added.
Gadiano said the problem stems from OMCPC's lack of budget to buy fuel as it is yet to receive its subsidy from the government through the National Power Corporation.
“The subsidy is yet to be paid under Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UCME) [scheme],” he said, referring to the provision under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
“It needs to be paid so power plants could run, and their rates are expensive. They are holding the national government hostage,” he added.
He said local government officials have already reached out to the Department of Energy, Congress, and even the Office of the President, among other relevant government agencies, to address the problem.
Gadiano then lamented that the two existing generator sets of the province, with 10 megawatts and 20 megawatts capacity, are not working.
“We are looking at emergency procurement, but we need power supply agreement and competitive selection process. We really need to buy power supply and without national government’s go ahead, the true cost will be passed on to consumers,” he said.
“That is why I am appealing to the national government and the President...children in schools are collapsing due to extreme heat. We met with Congress, convened with a lot of sectors. We were told they will take actions but that is yet to come,” Gadiano said.—AOL, GMA Integrated News