ILOILO CITY – Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. has sought the help of Congress to have power issues in his province fixed immediately and avoid a repeat of the outage that plunged Panay, Guimaras, and portions of Negros Occidental into darkness on January 2 to 5.
“We are in a hurry. We want to apply pressure, together with the DOE (Department of Energy) and other regulating agencies and Congress. We want to apply pressure that this should be fixed immediately because if not, this will repeat again,” Defensor said in an interview on Tuesday.
The governor will attend the hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy on Wednesday afternoon that will tackle, among others, a resolution calling for an inquiry in aid of legislation on the power situation in Panay. He will also be a resource person for the House Committee on Energy, which will have its second deliberation on the power outages in Panay and Western Visayas on April 2023 in relation to the recent blackout.
“We want to pursue two things immediately. Number one, we want to get across that the management of the grid should be perfected immediately by the National Grid Corporation (of the Philippines) and all others concerned. Number two, that the vital infrastructure like Phase 3 of the Cebu-Negros-Panay backbone, together with the other corollary structures like substations should be finished immediately,” he stressed.
If not fixed immediately, Defensor said Panay and the region will be in danger of experiencing power outage anew because the grid is weak. If left unfixed, it will stop development as among its long-term effects, he noted.
“Why is it weak? Because the backbone is not finished. A national grid with an unfinished backbone is weak, like a person without a backbone is dead. A person with a damaged backbone is weak,” Defensor pointed out.
The governor added he wants to learn more during the hearing as the Iloilo provincial government contemplates a possible “legal recourse” to “vindicate the damage” the outage has caused the province.
Defensor also expressed his gratitude to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. “for the personal attention he has given to Panay in addressing this power crisis in our region.” (PNA)