Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A green energy contract that led to economic sabotage in Marinduque

Contract was awarded to Coastalpower Development Corp. but power supply agreement was with 3i Powergen, Inc.

Into the future with renewable energy sources like solar power, wind energy facilities or small biomass power plants across the Philippine Islands? Marinduque is a jewel among Islands Philippines that continues to experience browouts resulting from a complex 2005 power supply agreement that completely failed.

This, on top of present inconsistent diesel supplies, on top of a defective NPC power barge unit, on top of warnings to enforce power plant shutdown if no fuel is delivered in the coming days.

So, could we think clearly of renewable energy sources while suffering in darkness?

Serious Roadmaps Again.

Of course, Islands Philippines must be compelled to see clearly and clearly see that the only government that runs it is focused in its drive towards energy security and access to clean and affordable energy.

During the very recent launching of the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), President Aquino emphasized that the development of clean energy is one of the immediate priorities. He said government will ensure that policies and guidelines will provide a level playing field, transparency, and fair electricity pricing. NREP establishes a framework for policies that promote renewable energy such as solar, hydro, ocean, wind, biomass, and geothermal power – the “green energy” roadmap.

That policy will take the burden off current dependency on imported energy (meaning high cost), like fossil fuels, as the high level of fossil fuel products burned each day pollutes the air, the environment, and contributes to climate change, and that is good.

Marinduque Economic Sabotage

But we definitely have heard that put forward before by past administrations, haven’t we? Isn’t it so that six years ago, Island Marinduque, together with Romblon and Tablas, was trumpeted by the National Power Corporation for a “breakthrough” with the awarding of a power supply agreement to a certain power consortium?

‘Breakthrough’ because it was the first time that the concession to supply electricity to one of the SPUG areas was awarded, and one with a wind energy facility at that which should have ensured 24/7 power supply in Island Marinduque beginning February 2007!

Six years thereafter, Marinduque is in a much worse situation now. As it turned out, that ‘breakthrough’ hailed by the mother and son tandem of Congressman Reyes and Governor Reyes who were holding those positions at that time, was all hot air. The contract with the private entity that won in a competitive selection process conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), appointed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and NPC as transaction advisor miserably failed to come up with anything.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) online confirmation that 3i Powergen was not registered.

If anything, it only succeeded in ensuring power outages and untold sufferings for an extensive period, up to present, with an impressionable (or gullible?) people as victims.

No power plant was ever constructed, not a single kilowatt was generated by the supposed power consortium to Island Marinduque. And no one, no one, no one was held responsible for that scandalous failure that, considering what that failure had done and continues to inflict to local trade, business and socio-political life on this island-province, reeked of no less than economic sabotage.

Past moro-moros (also recurring now)

Other than local political moro-moros staged for public consumption to skirt the issue as the election year approached in 2010, no official inquiry nor any investigation was ever conducted in the higher echelons of government.

That might have uncovered defects, disclosed more facts and pinpointed responsibilities for that anomalous power supply agreement. That agreement was directly related to implementation of private sector participation in securing power to the SPUG areas. And that was the root of Marinduque’s present power black-eye. Marinduque, this rising island that was recently listed by international tourism watchers as one of the world’s top islands! (Actually a tourism first for the country that should have made us worthy of national support now on the power issue, first and foremost.)


“Closure” is a popular word clamored by people these days when talking about sins of the past. Not just sweep away sins of the past under the rug, as a people wont to saying "wala kitang magagawa" did yesterday, do today but hopefully will not continue doing tomorrow. There must be closure, they say, so that lessons are learned, mistakes are not repeated and so that people are not eternally manipulated by officials of government; so that such officials are at last brought to the realization that there’s also a time “to cut and cut clean”.

It is not even late for such official inquiries nor investigations to be conducted. Never too late to demand for closure on this matter so that truth and enlightenment could ensue.

Particularly now, when the political manipulators and tireless barkers are back using local media and covered courts for a new set of power problem lies and hogwash. Should no longer let go, again and again, of corrupt practices that seem to have been perfected by the clever masters of deception. One also hopes that the religious would, for once, receive that gift of discernment this time.

PNOY must come to rescue!

But we have to be powered, in the meantime, by transitory diesel generators that work - courtesy of an understanding, responsive, good and just national government that might come to our rescue now, right?

After all, it's the past government through the leading national power agencies (DOE and NPC),who together with politicos were at the forefront of the mentioned power contract and may have had their fingerprints improperly dipped on the power cookie jar. But then, one has to start the ball rolling for a congressional probe into this economic sabotage in Marinduque. What's good for Marinduque is good for the country.