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PIA Press Release

Nat'l gov't places equal attention to power

by JD Abangan

Davao City (19 February) -- The national government is placing equal attention on energy needs of the country as it prepares for the looming long dry spell, El Nino.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during her dinner with the media in Davao City, revealed that Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes was set to go around major cities in Mindanao to check with stakeholders the state of power and electricity.

"Well, the power crisis is related to the drought which is related to El Nino. That's why Angie (Secretary Angelo Reyes) is coming to Mindanao and assess the situation in Mindanao," she told the media.

President Arroyo assured the media that the public would know the results of Reyes assessment regarding the power supply situation in Mindanao and how energy department would address arising issues.

The Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) has received advise from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to cut power distribution a maximum of 68 megawatts.

DLPC information office chief, Ross Luga has informed the public of the series of rotational brownouts due to reduced power supply coming from Agus and Pulangi 4 Hydro Electric Plants.

Luga revealed information from NGCP that the Mindanao Grid is now being placed on a Red Alert as its contingency reserved has reportedly gone down to zero.

President Arroyo cited food shortage as the most critical problem that arises from El Nino "but that's taken cared of."

"So what we have to address right now is not the availability of food because that's been taken cared of; it is really the income of farmers. So we have to support the farmers," President Arroyo said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo, in his during his latest visit in Davao revealed some accomplishments for Mindanao under the Arroyo administration.

Low-cost fertilizers were provided to farmers through distributing 322 units of composting facilities to the entire Mindanao.

These composting facilities have helped reduced the dependence of farmers on expensive inorganic fertilizers as well as promote organic farming in the Agri-business Mindanao.

On irrigation, a total of 43,224 hectares of farmlands have been irrigated while 315,756 hectares have been restored/rehabilitated, spurring agricultural productivity using multi-cropping system which has transformed seasonal farming jobs to year-long jobs. Saludo also reported that about P9 billion was spent from 2001 to 2009 to complete the construction and rehabilitation of 4,427.62 km farm-to-market roads (FMRs), which improved the delivery of agricultural products as well as enhanced farms accessibility, thus reducing hauling costs.

Saludo also said that a total of P4.77 billion was released in 2008 to 2009 to 154,536 farmer-beneficiaries through the Land Bank and Agro-Industry Modernization Credit and Financing Program (AMCFP) to encourage and develop the capacity of farmers to invest more in agribusiness.

The government has significantly improved agribusiness in Mindanao through the FIELDS Program, he said. (PIA XI) [top]

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