• Olongapo escapes power disconnection, gets reprieve from P5-billion debt

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    Olongapo City avoided being left in the dark after the Department of Energy (DoE) suspended the scheduled power disconnection for the city.

    Olongapo’s electricity supply is about to be unplugged because the city owes P5-billion in unpaid bills to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

    In a statement issued Wednesday, Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun said the Energy department reached the decision to suspend the power disconnection during a meeting between Khonghun, Olongapo Mayor Rolen Paulino, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and President Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. held on Tuesday.

    PSALM is the authorized office under the Department of Energy that deals with the privatization of NGCP.

    “We would like to thank Secretary Petilla for his understanding and PSALM President Ledesma for setting another meeting later this week to further discuss the debt restructuring proposal submitted by the new local administration,” Khonghun said.

    Olongapo incurred the P5-billion debt was during the nine-year long term of former Mayor James Gordon Jr.

    “Our initial meeting with our DOE officials went well. This is a work in progress. We were able to convey to Secretary Petilla that Olongapo is not running away from this obligation,” Khonghun pointed out.

    “Our predecessors will have to account for this big mess that they left behind. If we have removed and punished a sitting Chief Justice for merely failing to declare all his assets in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities, we can’t allow someone who cannot explain why a whopping P5 billion worth of the people’s hard-earned money were never remitted to the power distribution firm,” Khonghun said.

    LLANESCA T. PANTI

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