After being reproached by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has assured that electricity in areas affected by Typhoon Pablo, particularly Davao Oriental, will be restored within 45 days.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Petilla has discussed the matter with the President last Tuesday.
“Now the DOE [Department of Energy] is clearly on point with this and Secretary Petilla has assured the full restoration of electricity in all Pablo-affected areas within 45 days,” Valte told reporters.
“He will be submitting a memo to the President containing the details of his action plan,” she added.
According to Valte, the President was frustrated with the slow restoration of power in areas hit by Pablo in December 2012.
His frustration stemmed from the buck-passing among some officials, she said.
On Monday, President Aquino was surprised to learn 57 percent of barangays in Davao Oriental still had no power. He again expressed his disappointment on Tuesday.
“I’ve asked the concerned departments to explain their faults: why is it this way over a year later? Why has power not been restored? This is bureaucracy. They were pointing fingers, they passed on responsibilities,” he said.
“I made the agencies feel I am not happy with them. By the next time I follow up with them, there needs to be electricity to most areas or they’ll need to submit their resignations. Those are just two things. I’m easy to talk to. We all have work, so do your work or sorry,” he said.
Asked if Petilla will resign if the 45-day deadline is not met, Valte said, “I don’t think anyone doubts the seriousness of the President when he made that statement.”
Still, Valte said, Petilla continues to have the President’s trust and confidence.
She asked the public to give the energy department a chance to address the problem.
“They’ve already given the President a timetable. At least, DOE has committed to present the action plan to the President and has given a concrete timetable by which they will accomplish their job. So, let’s give them time,” she said.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE