MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III Thursday said he wants a windmill farm in Camiguin or Davao del Sur and a village in Surigao del Sur or Davao Oriental to use solar power as part of a long-term solution to the power shortage gripping Mindanao.
In his speech during the launch of the Sibulan Hydroelectric Power Plant in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Thursday, Aquino said he has asked the Department of Energy (DoE) "to create a long-term road map to maximize the use of other energy source potentials" such as wind power and solar energy.
"Mindanao, with its natural and renewable energy sources will have a reliable supply of power in the near future. A windmill farm in Camiguin or Davao del Sur will not only supply electricity to localities, but will also boost provincial tourism and local employment. A village in Surigao del Sur or Davao Oriental with solar panels for roofs may just be the solution for communities to be freed from the hours of blackouts in the region," he said.
Aquino was referring to the success of the first wind farm in Southeast Asia in Bangui, Ilocos Norte which not only provides alternative power source but has also become a popular tourist spot in northern Philippines.
The Chief Executive also encouraged "cooperation between local government units and the private sector to explore the creation of mini-hydro plant projects." "These partnerships can be achieved through local business ventures in which rural communities can provide manpower while private investors supply the knowledge and technology. It is also important to rehabilitate inefficient yet still viable plants to maximize their generation capacities," he said.
He said that the launching of the Sibulan Hydroelectric Power Plant is one of the concrete steps being undertaken to solving the power shortage in the region with the help of the private sector.
"This is a clear indication of the private sector’s urgent response to our call to address the power situation in Mindanao. This development not only strengthens the position of the company, Aboitiz, as one of the leading proponents of renewable energy in the Philippines, but reflects its commitment to developing projects beneficial to our people,” Aquino said.
He stressed that “borne out of the creative and strategic collaboration between the government and private agencies, this power plant is a testament to the inevitable success that comes when private entities become allies of the people. We hope that other companies emulate your ventures in promoting sustainable development, not just for the region, but for the rest of the nation.” "The Sibulan power plant reflects a concrete step in that direction. With the active cooperation between government and private entities, we are committed to end poverty and bring peace to Mindanao through vibrant growth and economic progress. We will ensure that Mindanao lives up to its name as a food basket, not just of the Philippines, but of the whole Asia-Pacific region," he added.
Apart from decades of political conflict and hunger, energy shortage has prevented Mindanao from reaching its full potentials, he noted.
"Mindanao is called the food basket of the country for many reasons. Geographically blessed, it enjoys a bountiful harvest of farm products, and a thriving fishing industry. While it is largely spared from typhoons and other natural calamities, it has been hammered by decades of political conflict, hunger, and recently, an energy shortage. This has prevented Mindanao from reaching its full potential," he said.
Aquino expressed hopes that power problems will be a thing of the past after his six-year term.
"We have bright days ahead of us. By the time I leave office, it is my hope that power problems in this part of the country will be nothing more than a bad memory. I am glad to be your comrade-in-arms in our pledge to build a prosperous future for the next generation. Let us fulfill the dreams of generations. Let us make Mindanao the true land of promise and not of broken promises.”