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Gatchalian urges PNoy to address the looming power crisis in his SONA

Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian today said rotational brownouts in Metro Manila and adjoining provinces will likely be the start of a looming crisis next year as he urged President Benigno S.C. Aquino III to report to the country in his State of the Nation Address or SONA the government’s plans to prevent such from occurring.


Gatchalian noted that even after the Manila Electric Company or Meralco has restored power in Metro Manila, which was severely stricken by typhoon “Glenda”, rotational brownouts are being carried out by Meralco because existing power plants cannot cope with the energy requirements in the National Capital Region or NCR.


“This is an indicator that we have a serious problem in our power supply and Malacanang should address this energy problem before it becomes a full-blown power crisis by 2015,” said Gatchalian, who is a senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development.


While residential areas affected by the projected three to five-hour rotational brownouts can cope with power, business establishments will be harshly hit by these power outages and this will definitely stifle the country’s economic growth — touted as the fastest in Southeast Asia — and ruin the Philippines’ prospects as the next Asian miracle.


“An imminent power crisis will hurt the country’s investment climate and discourage likely investors while those who already put up shop here in the country might relocate elsewhere if they see that the government is not capitalizing on available remedies to solve the energy problem,” Gatchalian explained.


The said power crisis, the lawmaker added, does not help the Philippines’ already poor total electrification rate at 83 percent, much lower than Thailand at 88 percent and Vietnam at 98 percent.


Gatchalian, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition allied with the House majority bloc, said a power crisis would also disrupt the country’s positive growth momentum and hamper government’s efforts to create more jobs.


“I expect President Aquino to include in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) the steps being undertaken by the government to avert a possible energy crisis starting next year. I think this should be one of the administration’s priorities and should be backed by Congress,” Gatchalian said. (Monica Cantilero)