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Aboitiz Power welcomes investigation on alleged collusion in power sector

April 24, 2019

THE top management of Aboitiz Power Corporation (AP) welcomed an investigation by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on alleged collusion among power industry players to jack up electricity prices.     In a briefing after the annual stockholders meeting of Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AVE) in Makati City Monday, AP Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said speculations that power players are deliberately disrupting power services need to be addressed.     "We believe it's something that really needs to be clarified to erase speculations, perceptions of the market," said Rubio, who takes over as the company's Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2020, when current CEO Erramon Aboitiz retires.     Asked if he sees the need to implement reforms in the industry, he said this will be a good development.     "If there are actually reforms that will recommended as a conclusion of the investigation to improve the system then we welcome that," he added.     The Luzon grid experienced low power reserves before the Holy Week after several power plants went on unplanned outages due to various reasons like having some parts that are not working.     This resulted in the issuance of yellow and red alerts for the Luzon grid and power outages in several areas.     PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan, in a statement Monday, said the Commission is "looking into the recent series of shutdowns and assessing if it merits an investigation."     "We look forward to the report that DOE (Department of Energy) will send us as it will help with our assessment," he said.     Balisacan said the drop in reserves that resulted to power outages "sparked complaints from the public", thus, "PCC shall assess whether the recent power plants’ outages are manipulated to increase electricity prices or are valid unplanned breakdowns that affect supply conditions."     He explained that the Commission, under the Philippine Competition Act, is "mandated to promote fair market competition, prohibit anti-competitive behavior among businesses across sectors including the power sector, and advance consumer welfare in the process."     He, thus, called on power generation companies to refrain from "engaging in anti-competitive or collusive behavior which is punishable by the competition law with fines of up to PHP250 million, and imprisonment of responsible officers of up to seven years."     He also stressed that "while the PCC has primary and original jurisdiction over competition concerns, the antitrust commission acknowledges the technical expertise and regulatory functions of the DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in overseeing the power industry."     "With this, the PCC seeks to deepen its ties and advance its previous discussions with the DOE and ERC towards a Memorandum of Agreement in order to facilitate market competition and investigations in the power sector," he said.     Balisacan also pointed out that the Energy department "has previously referred a similar matter" to the PCC.     "That is being treated as a separate investigation," he added. (PNA)

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Bong Go vowed to press Duterte’s campaign against corruption; HNP stumps Kidapawan City

April 24, 2019

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato - Former Special Assistant to the President and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday vowed to help President Rodrigo Duterte in his campaign to rid the government of corrupt officials.     Speaking at the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) campaign rally at the Capitol Provincial Gymnasium here, Go thanked the residents of the city for their warm welcome, particularly during his motorcade earlier.     “Maraming salamat po sa mga kababayan ko dito sa Kidapawan at North Cotabato. Tulad po ng ibang lugar na pinuntahan namin, napaka-init po ng pagtanggap ninyo, sing-init ng panahon. Nakakawala po talaga ng pagod pag nakikita mo ang ganung klase ng suporta,” Go said.      In his message to the people of Kidapawan and the entire province, Go reiterated his vow to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.      “Ipagpapatuloy ko po ang mga pagbabagong nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte. Yung kampanya laban sa iligal na droga, kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, at kampanya laban sa corruption isusulong ko po,” Go said.      Zeroing in on corruption, Go lamented that it takes a big bite out of the funds intended for projects and programs meant for the benefit of the people.      “Marami pong nagpapawis, tumulong kay Pangulong Duterte noong kampanya. Pero sabi ni Pangulong Duterte pag pumasok ka sa corruption, hiwa-hiwalay na tayo. Interest muna ng bayan bago interest ng sarili o kaibigan. Marami na pong sinipang opisyal si Pangulong Duterte dahil sa corruption,” Go said.     Earlier, Go had urged people to report to him, to the Truth and Justice Coalition, or to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission any information on corrupt officials and they can be sure it would be acted upon immediately.     “Tulungan nyo po si Pangulong Duterte sa kanyang kampanya laban sa mga corrupt na opisyal. Ibulong nyo lang po sa akin, o iparating ninyo sa Truth and Justice Coalition of Greco Belgica, o kaya sa PACC,” Go had said.     As part of his legislative agenda for agriculture, Go called for improved irrigation services to curb the effects of the perennial dry spell the country experiences, noting reports that the dry spell had affected about 15,000 hectares of farmland.      Go said improved irrigation system, coupled with better management of water resources could not only help bring a bountiful harvest for the farmers but also support the operation of residents engaged in fish farming.      “Pagbutihin pa natin ang irigasyon para bukod sa patubig sa bukid ay magkaroon ng tubig ang mga fish ponds. Bigyan din natin ng binhing isda ang mga mangingisda para tuloy ang kabuhayan nila,” said Go.     “Dapat palakasin pa natin ang suporta ng pamahalaan sa pagbibigay ng mga abono, binhi, makinarya at mga pagsasanay. Ilalayo natin ang mga magsasaka sa 5-6 dahil pahihiramin natin sila ng puhunan na may mababang interes. Gusto ko na magkaroon sila ng alternatibong pagkakabuhayan,” he added.     He also assured the people of North Cotabato that they can count on him to support the Duterte administration’s infrastructure and development programs, particularly those that are directly beneficial to the people of the province.     He cited, among others, the on-going Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project (Phase 11) located in North Cotabato and Maguindanao area, that would divert irrigation water from Maridagao River to deliver timely and adequate irrigation water to 9,784 hectares of agricultural lands.      There are also various farms to market road projects in the province to enable farmers to transport their products faster to the market such as the concreting of Mahongcog to Sitio Tagaytay road, upgrading of Bangkal Sitio Apog-Apog road, improvement of Manobisa Crossing Iwal to Sitio Timodos road, and concreting of PBMA – Sitio Hijara-Tombao road. Proponents have been required to submit the requirements for these projects.     To mitigate the effects of flash floods that destroy properties, crops, and livestock, the Duterte administration is embarking on a P1.4-billion project to dredge and realign the Simuay River and its shoreline. The NEDA has already approved the project in February this year and civil works are expected to begin by this year.      Topmost among  Go’s priorities in his legislative agenda is the crusade to improve the delivery of health services in the country, particularly through the establishment of Malasakit Center. It’s a one, stop shop that makes it easier and faster for indigents to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room all concerned agencies such as DOH, DSWD, PCSO, and Philhealth.      “It’s a continuing program of the Duterte administration. Gusto ko po itong maisabatas pagdating ng panahon para tuloy-tuloy ang programa kahit hindi na pangulo si Pangulong Duterte at mas madagdagan pa ang ating mga Malasakit Center,” Go said.      Other priority concerns in Go’s legislative agenda include programs for education, housing for the poor, fire protection and prevention, long-term sports development, localized peace talks,  barangay welfare, creation of a department of OFW and better support for senior citizens.     “Asahan nyo po, patuloy ninyo akong magiging tulay kay Pangulong Duterte. Wala po kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi ang kabutihan ng Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.     “Ang bisyo ko po, magserbisyo. Naniniwala ako na ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos,” he added.

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Bong Go calls for improved measures to mitigate El Niño impact to agriculture

April 24, 2019

COTABATO City – Former Special Assistant to the President and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday called for additional government support to farmers to mitigate the impact of dry spell brought by recurring El Niño phenomenon that devastates crops.     “Malaki na ang pinsalang dala ng El Niño. Dapat mas palawakin ang cloudseeding operations at free irrigation, kasama na ang solar-powered irrigation systems,” Go said in his message during the campaign rally of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party at the Notre Dame University Gym here.     Reports earlier said an estimated P605-million worth of agricultural crops in two provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), namely Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, where 10,818 hectares of rice and 11,039 hectares of corn are affected.     A total of 18,423 farmers have been affected in the two provinces, with Lanao del Sur having 11,087 farmers affected and 7,336 in Maguindanao.     Go, who has identified agriculture as one of his top priorities under his legislative agenda also proposed for improved access of farmers to cheaper fertilizer, seeds, machinery, and low-interest credit.      “Kailangan ding magbigay tayo ng mas maraming trainings para sa mga alternative livelihood ng ibang myembro ng pamilya ng ating mga maliliit na magsasaka at mangingisda.     Earlier in the day, Go held a motorcade around the city where he received an enthusiastic response from the residents.     “Sobrang init po ng pagtanggap ninyo sa akin, sing-init ng panahon. Nakakawala po ng pagod. Maraming salamat po sa mga kapatid natin dito sa Cotabato City at sa buong probinsya ng Maguindanao,” Go said.      The former SAP and the HNP senatorial slate secured the support of Cotabato City as HNP headed by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte forged an alliance with Team One Kutawato local party headed by Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.      Go rallied the people of Cotabato City to support the HNP candidates as he also expressed confidence they would remember him when they troop to the polling places to vote.     “Alam ko naman hindi ninyo ako malilimutan, unang-una kapitbahay lang  tayo, taga-Davao ako, di ba mga Bisaya tayo? Mahal na mahal po ni Pangulong Duterte ang mga kapatid nating Muslim sa Davao City, ipinagpatuloy po ni Mayor Sara,” Go noted.      "Ang Pangulo naman, he recognizes Hajj as sacred religious obligation of every Muslim. Kaya bawat taon bilang tulong, nagpapadala siya ng pilgrims performing Hajj sa Mecca, Saudi Arabia," he added.     Go also assured his fellow Mindanaoans, that he would continue supporting the programs and policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he has served for over 21 years.     “Kung masaya kayo (sa pamamahala ni Pangulong Duterte) ipagpatuloy natin yung pagbabagong nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte. Yung kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, kampanya laban sa corruption, at kampanya laban sa iligal na droga—suportado ko po iyan,” Go said.     Likewise, Go said that if elected to the Senate, he would support the implementation of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” programs that are meant to stimulate economic activities and provide as well more job and employment opportunities for the people.     Among others, Go cited the on-going P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project in North Cotabato and Maguindanao that would provide irrigation water to 9,784 hectares of agricultural lands in the area.     Also in the pipeline is the P39.2-billion Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River flood control projects, meant to benefit the flood-prone areas in Maguindanao. The government has conveyed on June 6, 2018 to the Chinese government the request to secure loan financing for the project.     As part of government support for agriculture in the area, there are also plans for the construction of two units of solar dryer with warehouse in two sitios in Paglat, Maguindanao. The proponents of the project were already required to submit the necessary funding requirements.     Go added that another top priority in his legislative agenda is to improve the delivery of health services in the country, particularly through the establishment of Malasakit Center.      A project of the Duterte administration based on Go’s idea, the Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for indigent patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth.     “Gusto ko pong isabatas ito pagdating ng panahon para tuloy-tuloy ang programa kahit hindi na pangulo si Pangulong Duterte. Meron na po kayong Malasakit Center dito Maguindanao sa Cotabato Regional and Medical Center. Ito po yung pang-16th na Malasakit Center natin out of the 34 na meron tayo ngayon,” Go said.     Other priority items in Go’s legislative agenda include programs for education, housing, long-term sports development, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, barangay welfare, creation of a Department of OFW, and improved benefits for senior citizens.     “Mga kapatid ko dito sa Cotabato, sa Maguindanao, sa Sultan Kudarat, minsan lang tayo daraan sa mundong ito. Kaya anuman ang mabuti na pwede nating gawin sa kapwa, gawin na natin dahil hindi na tayo daraan muli sa mundong ito,” Go said.     He vowed to serve Filipinos like he served President Duterte for over 21 years.      “Alam nyo po ang serbiyo sa tayo ay serbisyo sa Diyos, at serbisyo kay Allah. Wala kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.

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Bong Go reaffirms solidarity with Muslim brothers in Marawi

April 23, 2019

MARAWI CITY – Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday reaffirmed his solidarity with his Muslim brothers here as he vowed to help the city rise from the ashes of conflict.     Even as this developed, actor Robin Padilla—a Muslim convert—appealed to his brothers in Marawi to support Go’s senatorial bid, as well as the chosen candidates of President Rodrigo Duterte.     “Masaya po ako na nakabalik muli kami dito sa Marawi. Alam nyo po sampung beses kaming bumalik ni Pangulong Duterte. Tulong-tulong po tayo na pabangunin ang Marawi. Bangon Marawi po, mabuhay po ang taga-Marawi,” Go said a at the rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan at the Mindanao State University gym here.     He recalled that he has established a close relationship with Muslims while serving as assistant to then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.      “Alam nyo, malapit po sa akin ang mga kapatid kong Muslim. Kada taon nagpapadala po si Pangulong Duterte ng mga nagha-hajj po sa Mecca nung Mayor pa po siya ng Davao City,” Go said.       “At ang ginagawa ko po, pinipili namin yung mga mosque na malayo at saka yung hindi talaga nakakapunta, yung wala pong pera..inuuna po namin yung mahihirap na hindi makaka-afford na pumunta po sa Mecca,” he added.     Go stressed that Duterte treated Christians and Muslims equally in Davao City, noting the city has passed an Anti-Discrimination ordinance, adding: “Ganun namin kamahal ang aming mga kapatid na Muslim sa Davao.”     Assured by the people of Marawi that they are satisfied with the President Duterte’s performance in handling the affairs of the country for the past three years, Go vowed to support the President’s programs and policies.      “Kung masaya kayo ipagpatuloy natin yung pagbabagong inumpisahan ni Pangulong Duterte. Ano po ito? Kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, kampanya laban sa corruption, kampanya laban sa iligal na droga.”     Go also appealed to the people of Marawi to help President Duterte win the fight against the menace of illegal drugs.     “Alam nyo naman po na ang puno’t-dulo ng giyera dito sa Marawi ay droga. Tulungan nyo po ang ating mahal na Pangulo,” the former SAP stressed.     Reports said the Maute terrorist group that attacked Marawi in May 2017 and sparked a five-month armed conflict that caused death and widespread destruction was largely funded by illegal drugs.      The Duterte administration has prepared a massive rehabilitation effort for Marawi. As of February this year, the government has raised nearly P42 billion for the rehabilitation of the city. The program involves rebuilding roads and key infrastructure, as well as provision of livelihood and shelters for residents.     Victims are expected to be able to return home in September 2019 as the clearing of debris was expected to finish by August 30, 2019.      In addition to the campaign against criminality, corruption and illegal drugs, Go said he would also push for improvement in the delivery of health services, including the upgrade of facilities of public health institutions and the passage of a law to enable the establishment of Malasakit Centers in more areas of the country.     The Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room all concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth.      Go likewise said he has prepared programs to support agriculture, provide housing for the poor, education, long-term sports development, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, creation of a Department of OFW, the passage of a Magna Carta for barangay officials, and improved benefits for senior citizens.      “Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, serbisyo lang kami sa inyong lahat. Serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos. Wala kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino, kabutihan ng bawat Moro dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.      Meanwhile, Robin Padilla bared that Go was instrumental in allowing him to provide assistance to them despite the strict military security in place after the siege of the city ended.     “Labas masok ako sa Marawi kahit curfew, naghahanap kami ng evacuation center para paglagyan ng tubig. Alam nyo ba kung sino ang nagbigay sa akin ng go signal para makapasok at labas sa Marawi para makatulong kami? Mga mahal kong kapatid, si Bong Go po yun, yung SAP natin,” Padilla said.      He noted that he was assisted in his effort by the police, the military and the member of the Bangon Marawi task force because of Go.      “Huwag niyo po akong tignan bilang isang pulitiko kundi bilang kapatid. .. At ang pinakikiusap ko sa eleksyon bomoto kayo ng straight, lahat ng kaalyado ni Presidente Duterte, iboto ninyo. Unang-una na siyempre, yung aking best friend si Bong Go,” Padilla said.     He stressed that while many of his Muslim brothers in Marawi were urging him to run for the Senate, he decided against to dedicate his life to his faith.     Padilla also assured the people of Marawi that President Duterte is sincere in his effort to help them.     “Kahit kailan hindi kayo malilimutan ni Presidente Duterte. Ngayon kumakatok ako sa puso ninyo, huwag ninyong kalimutan ang Presidente natin at ang kanyang mga (kandidatong) senador,” he stressed.

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Jaraula clarifies issues on The Golden Mile Project

April 22, 2019

Former Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula has issued a clarification about his Golden Mile Project after allegedly being “ridiculed and vilified” by radio commentators on the “unfinished” renovation of the Amphitheatre.     In a statement sent to this newspaper, Jaraula explained the historical background of the project which eventually led to the controversial demolition of the former Amphitheatre known as the “Amphi” to Kagay-anons.     “The block referred to as the Amphitheater, from Burgos to Capistrano Streets, used to be the Public Market. The western half was the “wet” portion and the upper half was for dry goods. The other block from Capistrano to Rizal Streets was likewise for dry goods. In 1958 the Cogon Market was made operational under the leadership of Mayor Justiniano “Tinying” Borja and Vice Mayor Jesus “Jake”Seriña.”     “Under the same leadership the entire “Divisoria Park” from Burgos to Corrales was fully developed and was recipient of a national award in 1963 for “beautification” among local governments. City Engineer Herminio Lucero was the designer and trusted official of Mayor Borja.  It is unfortunate he died not long thereafter.”     Jaraula noted how even before he assumed office as Mayor in July 2007 the Amphitheater was non-operational and was enclosed with barbwire.     “It was “over-used” and needed rehabilitation. This was aggravated by the need for additional space in the City Hall complex so that taxpayers would not jump from one office to another area, wasting so much time in between,” he noted. The Golden Mile     Thus, he conceived the Golden Mile Project in response to the crying need to expand the City Hall Complex at the time to accommodate the growing demands of the expanding city.     “When I took over in 2007 City Councilors did not have individual offices which we used to have. There was a demand for a One-Stop-Shop to consolidate City offices and save taxpayers time and expense. I humbly accepted the challenge and conceived of the Golden Mile Project.     Among the salient features of the project were enhancement of the river bank to prevent flooding; expansion of City Hall; construction of a multi-storey City Center to house a Public Library, Tourism and Museum,  with commercial floors to partly finance the Project; and redevelopment of the Amphitheatre to be integrated with the City Center.     In 2009, his administration was able to construct with local funds the Legislative and Administrative Buildings surrounding the Barangay/Tourism Hall by buying the old residential area of the late Assemblyman Isidro “Ñor Idroy” Vamenta and a portion of the late Edmundo Chaves property for a “discounted rate” of P13, 000 per square meter. This was considered a good bargain by former City Councilor Lourdes “Inday” Laviña since the prevailing price was at P25k/Sq.M.     The Golden Mile Master Plan called for the acquisition of all the areas bounded by the river bank and Burgos Street up to Hotel Ramon owned by the Chaves, Reyes, Roa, Montalvan, Gacula, and Pelaez families. Moving Forward     “We started with the 782 Sq.M, lot of the late Angel Chaves right beside Hotel Ramon and at the back of the Amphitheater, with the very specific purpose of putting up the City Center, also at a bargain, thanks to Charisse (Chaves) and Rafael “Pepot”Fortich.”     “We paid off the “occupants” of the property for their houses (whether paying or non-paying of rentals) and they demolished the same and vacated the area. In fact, this generous couple donated One Million (P1,000,000.00) Pesos as their contribution to the construction of the City Center with the condition that proper acknowledgment thereof be placed in the Center Marker. The amount was deposited with the City Treasurer’s Office.”     The plan also called for the construction of a foot/pedestrian bridge at the back of the City Center towards Brgy. Carmen, in the area owned by the late Domingo Vamenta.     “This was and still is a necessity since the Ysalina Bridge is always congested and dangerous to pedestrians. A view from the Science building of Xavier University and the Golden Friendship Park would have been extended up to Brgy. Carmen. Of course, it was fully understood at the time that all these could not be accomplished in just “one term”.  And I only had one term.” All Legal and Approved     Jaraula noted all the foregoing were covered by corresponding Resolutions and Ordinances, none of which has been repealed. They are available at the City Council for the honest and responsible commentators and scholars.     - Resolution No. 9305 – 2008 “ResolutionAdopting the Golden Mile Project consisting of (600) Six Hundred Meters of Walkway from the junction of Toribio Chaves Street to the proposed Boulevard along the river bank , going upstream to the 5th Bridge, and 1 kilometer of Boulevard from Toribio Chaves Street going downstream to J.R. Borja Street (or thereabout).     Correspondingly authorizing the dredging and reclamation of the Cagayan River as may be convenient and necessary for the early completion of the Project; and for this purpose authorizing the Honorable City Mayor to negotiate with any person, entity, or Corporation to undertake the Project or any part thereof, provided that any and all agreements in relation thereto shall be subject to the final approval of the Sangguniang  Panlungsod.” (Unanimously Carried on September 8, 2008)     - Resolution No. 9306 – 2008 “Resolution Authorizing the Redevelopment of the Golden Friendship Park (formerly Divisoria), including the extension of the same up to the proposed Boulevard along the River Bank and all the way to Barangay Carmen through a Walk Bridge, and the consequent acquisition of the area behind the Amphitheater, and for this purpose authorizing the Honorable City Mayor to conduct negotiations with any person, entity, or Corporation, as may be necessary to fulfill the foregoing functions, provided that any and all agreements in relation thereto shall be subject to the approval of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.” (Unanimously carried on September 8, 2008)     - Ordinance No. 11262 - 2008  “An Ordinance Authorizing Honorable City Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula to immediately implement or undertake the Redevelopment of the Community Amphitheatre Area at Divisoria, this City, as part of the Golden Mile Project, and further authorizing: the City Mayor to negotiate with Mr. Angel Chaves for the acquisition of his property affected by the said Project and to file expropriation proceedings in Court in case of failure thereof.” (Unanimously Approved December 15, 2008)     - Resolution No. 9560 – 2009 “Resolution Authorizing the Construction of a Multi-Storey City Center at the back of the Amphitheater (Chaves Lot to be acquired by the City) and the Immediate Bidding process therefor after compliance of basic requirements and in connection with the Redevelopment of the Amphitheater, further Authorizing the Construction of an Elevated Floor for the Amphitheater with the present Ground Floor serving as the area for Pay Parking and the Stage over Burgos Street, and other purposes.” (Carried by Majority on February 24, 2009)     - Ordinance No. 11379 – 2009 “An Ordinance Appropriating the sum of P10,975,881.00 from the Item “Non – Office Land Acquisition/Expropriation” in the 2009 Annual Budget to be made available for the full payment of the claim for just compensation including Registration and Documentation expenses of the Lot owned by Mr. Angel Chaves, located at Barangay No. 6, this City, which was affected by the construction of a Multi-Storey City Center at the back of the Amphitheater; and for this purpose, authorizing the Honorable City Mayor to sign the Deed of Absolute Sale thereof. (Approved by Majority on May 5, 2009) The Incomplete Amphi     Asked why the Golden Mile Project remained incomplete, Jaraula explained that the reconstruction of the Amphi was almost finished with stage already done but it had to await the construction of the City Center to which it has been integrated.     “In fact, the first to use it was ABS-CBN. This was specifically why the Angel Chaves lot was purchased to construct the City Center thereon and integrate the Amphi thereto,” he noted.     “In  the meantime, I used the ground floor of the Old Water Tank across Gaston Park to  “put up” the Museum which is being used until now as such without being expanded,” Jaraula added. Thus, he explained that the main reason why the Golden Mile Project, including the Amphi, was not completed was because the succeeding administrations did not elect to pursue it.     “There was an offer by a Korean consortium to put up a 30-storey building but my 3-year term ended faster. It was always assumed that the projects covered  by the resolutions and ordinances quoted could not be finished in just one term and subsequent administrations were expected to finish them through since they were neither amended nor repealed,” he said.

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Senate urged: Penalize gencos involved in unplanned outages

April 22, 2019

An infrastructure-oriented think tank has called on the Senate energy committee led by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian to push for penalties against all power generating companies involved in the recent unplanned and forced outages which caused unexpected rotating brownouts within the Luzon power grid.     “The public demands an explanation how in the world was it possible that major generating plants suddenly become unavailable in such a short window of time. More importantly, the public should not be made to pay for these unplanned shutdowns. It should be these gencos that should pay the costs of higher power rates in the spot market,” said  Terry L. Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former member fo the House energy committee.     Ridon said the following unplanned outages of the following power plants caused the April 13 red alert:      a. San Miguel Consolidated Power Corp. (SCPC) Unit 2, with 150-MW     b. Sual Unit I of Team Energy and San Miguel, with 647-MW     c. Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. (SLPGC) Unit 2 of DMCI, with 150-MW     d. Pagbilao Unit 3 of Team Energy and Aboitiz Power, with 420-MW     e. South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. (SLTEC) Unit 1 of AC Energy with 135-MW.. Explain shutdown, bear the costs     “We note that these generating plants are operated by country’s leading conglomerates, and thus, all the more should they be made to explain why their plants went out, and whether they are making a commitment to bear the costs of higher power prices from the spot market.”     Ridon said should the gencos refuse to make a voluntary commitment, government should initiate penalty proceedings, similar to its intervention in the water sector.     “The main concern of the public during these times is more on the higher costs due to the unplanned shutdowns. We can more ably bear rotating brownouts than higher power rates for reasons we have absolutely nothing to do with.”     Infrawatch recently lauded the  Department of Energy 's crackdown on gencos profiting from price spikes in the electricity spot market during the string of yellow alerts over the Luzon grid.     “This move by the energy department is a welcome development to ensure that the public interest is protected during times of limited power supply," said  Ridon.     The energy department recently said that it will release a list of gencos which may have gained financially from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). Proactive action welcomed     “The crackdown on profiteering gencos is consistent to the resolve of President Rodrigo Duterte to make life comfortable for Filipinos.”     Ridon said unexpected price hikes due to unplanned outages should not be borne by consumers but by erring gencos.     “The public should not be made to pay for the inefficiencies and failures of generating companies. They should pay the higher costs in the spot market themselves.” No repeat of 2013 spot market spikes     Ridon said the energy department should not stop at simply naming profiteering gencos, but also make them accountable through penalty proceedings, similar to what is now being undertaken in the water sector.     “The public will not be contented at simply knowing which gencos had profited. They would also want to know whether government can stop these gencos from passing on their profits to the public.”     Ridon said the bitter experience during the 2013 price spikes in the spot market should serve as a warning that government should not surrender its mandate in protecting the public.     “Profiteering gencos should be penalized, and rebates reflected in our monthly bills.”

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