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PIA Press Release

Wind-powered cellular site eyed for Pilar, Cebu

By Minerva BC Newman

Cebu, Philippines (4 November) -- Pilar, one of the towns that comprise the Camotes group of islands, recently received a boost in its telecommunications facilities when SMART Communications, Inc. put up its second wind-powered cellular site in the town.

This is the second wind-powered cellular site that SMART put up in Cebu after Malapascua in Daan Bantayan. "We are targeting 40 wind-powered cell sites nationwide by the end of the year," said Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, SMART public affairs manager for the Visayas and Mindanao.

Pilar is a small island town with more than 12,000 people. It is a five-hour pumpboat ride from mainland Cebu or a two-hour pumpboat ride from Ormoc City.

The town was energized in the 1990s through a diesel power plant that operates only in the evening. It was a member of the Camotes Electric cooperative that extracts one of the most expensive rates in the country.

According to SMART, the wind-powered cellular site would offset energy costs because Pilar will save 9 drums of fuel a month or more than P500,000 a year.

SMART opened its services in Camotes Islands in 2000 and recently partnered with Powercity Corp., an electrical supplies company that provides the latest innovation and technology for telecommunications power.

Powercity Corp. president Wilson The said that his company is constantly looking for fresh and novel approach to telecom power and the wind-powered cell sites is the latest innovation for a clean, environment-friendly alternative energy supply.

Pilar mayor Dr. Jet Fernandez couldn't help but be excited with SMART's move to share its "green philosophy" to Pilar.

The Mayor hopes this could be the beginning of a long-lasting partnership with SMART. He welcomed the "second wind" saying that the island is both a watershed and marine sanctuary area.

It could really boost its local tourism initiatives, but the "biggest contribution would be the increased communication capability of the island specifically in times of bad weather," Fernandez added.

Pilar is within a strong wind-belt area and common to other Camotes Islands, Habagat and Amihan winds hit Pilar fiercely almost twice a year.

Powercity Corp and SMART estimated that Camotes has 2000-3000MW of wind electric potential, even greater that the towns in Leyte and Samar.

Mayor Fernandez added that with this novel approach to telecom power in his town, "tourism would be greatly improved, it would be easier to make room reservations and we would have less worries because we would know if our loved ones have reached their destination safely." (PIA-Cebu) [top]

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