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PIA Press Release

Mindanao officials, biz group call for immediate improvement of watersheds to solve power woes

Butuan City (March 29) -- Top Mindanao leaders and the Mindanao Business Council (MBC) on Monday urged the national government and all sectors to unite in improving the watershed surrounding the Agus Lake and Pulangi hydro complex to avert more power crisis in the island.

The Mindanao officials and business group also asked the national government and multi-sectoral water and forest protection committees to activate the watershed management committees for strict implementation of laws, rules and regulations of the Lake Lanao and Pulangi watersheds, sources of Mindanao grid.

This immediate action plan was proposed after top officials of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) and MBC led by Chairman Jesus G. Dureza and Vicente Lao, respectively personally conducted on-site inspection of the two hydroelectric plants last week.

They said there is an immediate need to improve the watershed management surrounding the Agus Lake and Pulangi Hydro Complex to avert worsening power crisis.

They further said there is no problem on the structure of the facilities.

"What is lacking is a responsible water management in these areas," said Secretary Dureza.

In their actual inspection, they observed massive denudation of the watershed area which is supposed to be the catch basin of water that would run the Agus hydroelectric plants. The officials said massive reforestation must take place.

The visiting officials urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to strictly implement watershed management in those areas.

Dureza also urged environmental groups and local government units to work hand-in-hand on a watershed management plan for Lake Lanao.

A report gathered from the Regional Development Council (RDC) stated that the watershed in Lake Lanao is experiencing varying degrees of erosion.

The power crisis in Mindanao is brought about by the below normal capacity operation of the hydropower plants due to the extremely low water levels of Lake Lanao.

Mud has heavily accumulated in the Agus River, preventing the state-owned National Power Corporation (Napocor) from operating its hydro power plants at full capacity due to the damage that the mud may cause on the turbines.

In Monday's advisory, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said the available capacity power supply is only 779 megawatts. Mindanao's peak load is 1,224. (muc/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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