TF to address energy, security in Mindanao

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A Task Force to address long term security of transmission assets in Mindanao and complement ongoing government and private sector efforts to improve the power supply for sustained growth in the region has been created.

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Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Luwalhati Antonino said the government has allocated nearly P4 billion for Agus-Pulangi transmission rehabilitation that will make Mindanao the cheapest source of renewable energy reliable again.

With the expected completion of initial phases of baseload power plants this year having combined capacity of over 600MW, the Department of Energy (DOE) expects Mindanao to enter into a regime of supply excess for the first time since 2009.

While conceding that El Nino will have significant impact on Mindanao’s agriculture output, MinDA said the island’s diversified economic make-up keeps the region moving along the growth path.

“There is no island-region in the Philippines more intensely challenged then and now than Mindanao, but its resiliency always allows it to make headways at every turn,” she said.

Antonino issued the statement amid perceptions of uncertainty arising from recent realities affecting Mindanao, which a major national broadsheet’s recent editorial has cited as “series of unfortunate events”.

Among the pressing concerns, it said, that confront the island include impact on rotating brownouts caused by transmission-related problems and low hydropower output due to El Niño, which is also wrecking havoc on Mindanao’s agricultural yield, and the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“We recognize these challenges as affecting our dogged efforts to accelerate Mindanao’s overall socioeconomic growth, but are in no way keeping us out of focus,” Antonino stressed.

She said that despite the impasse on the BBL, there is a demonstration of commitment from various stakeholders to pursue lasting peace, in which everyone can move forward for sustained development.

“What is important is we find means to interface and coordinate on development initiatives, including private sector investments so as not to derail delivery of benefits especially to conflict-affected communities,” she added.

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