Rebates for bad service

Kudos to Speaker Boy Nogie for proposing measures to protect and compensate consumers from erring public utility providers.

Read his proposal here and here is what they do in Australia.

I hope Nogie is serious on this idea. He has in the past floated many bright ideas but it appears they were only for pogi points.

One down, 2 shouldn’t go

Hedcor has decided to scrap one of three hydro power plants it intends to build in Marilog District due to delays in the project.

Rene Ronquillo, president of the Aboitiz “cleanergy” firm was quoted by the Philippine Star saying its board has decided to scrap the Suawan plant, part of the 34.5 megawatt Tamugan-Panigan-Suawan hydropower project estimated to cost P7 billion. The Suawan plant has a capacity of 7 mw.

The reason for the delay is the opposition of the local water utility, Davao City Water District. The delay is already two years. For us lay people, the dispute is easily resolvable as it pertains mainly on elevation, where water would be tapped by either Hedcor or DCWD, and not on a fundamental issue on the use or misuse of water resources. Technical solutions can certainly fix the problem and both parties have plenty of good engineers.

Further delays in the plans to build the hydro electric facilities to meet local energy shortage by 2010 might altogether scrap the two remaining plants. God forbid.

If the water utility continues to dilly dally, as I have shown in Septage the post below, here’s what I see in the future. Two years down the road, the water district will have to fend off two public anger – poor water service and the dreaded brownouts. Yup, I would squarely put the blame on DCWD if the city suffer from power shortages starting in 2010.

Related posts – Water wars

5:52 a.m.

Davao Earth Hour

Davao needs to do better in contributing to energy conservation. I am saddened by this report that not many joined the lights off campaign last March 29.

My family did. But we need more to help Mother Earth.

As convenor of the Davao Green EAGLES (Energy Alternatives for Green Living & Economic Sustainability), I have been advocating not just the development and use of renewable energy resources but the conservation of current energy resources too. Fossil fuel, the main energy source, must be used less and less due to its ill effects on global warming.

Let us join and support campaigns for the use of less light and power like those of the Earth Hour and car-less days, among others.

(7:40 a.m.)

Posted in Energy. 1 Comment »

Slap in the face

This is a clear slap in the face of the Malacanang occupant.

Three local government executives vowed to promote the conservation of Mt. Apo and protect its watershed and indigenous communities, clearly opposite the Palace’s idea of converting portions of the sacred mountain into a “special economic zone.”

Related posts:

Business Mirror

Ecozone at Mt. Apo?

(5:38 a.m.)

Sinag in solar car race

Oil prices jumped again to new highs yesterday. For the nth time we are again jolted to our senses on the urgent need to find alternatives to fossil fuel.

When I founded the Davao Green EAGLES (Energy Alternatives for Green Living and Economic Sustainability) in October 2005 (no offense for the pun to both Ateneo and La Salle), I thought people were resolved already in starting to give up on fossil fuel as it skyrocketed over $70 per barrel. Well, oil now costs more than $80 and the more we should accelerate finding and using alternative energy.

Unfortunately, we are slow on acting with no less than the national government having little political will except on the passage of the Biofuels Act.

Yet, there are plenty of other alternatives we should work on such as biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.

I am particularly elated that finally on its 20th edition, a Philippine team is entered in the world famous World Solar Car Challenge in Australia on October 21-28. Our entry is the Sinag solar car from the Dela Salle University.

A Davaoeno, Isidro “Ingco” Marfori, is among the members of the team. He is the youngest son of our family friends Ding and Sylvia Marfori.

I wrote about this solar car race in my blog last year when Iran, an oil producing nation, took part in the race except that their vehicle got lost in the transit from Iran via Dubai.

A team from Latin America is also taking part for the first time. An entry by Chilean students is called Eolian which is made of wood, solar panels and an electric motor.

A 1996 movie, Race the Sun, immortalized the inspiring participation of the US team from Hawaii during the 1990 solar car race Down Under.

Update September 22 – Comment from visitor led us to this site on the South African Solar Car race in 2008. 

Business Mirror

My stand on the special economic zone at Mt Apo is the subject of today’s editorial at the national broadsheet Business Mirror –Another haphazardly conceived “incentive.”

(11:31 a.m.)

Ecozone in Mt. Apo?

With direct foreign investments down 16% during the first half of the year, the national government is devising new schemes to attract more business.

This particular idea is absurd.

Upon arrival in Davao City from the APEC Summit Down Under yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order declaring geothermal areas in the country as “special economic zones.” Through this, government expects to attract power-intensive industries like, prominently mentioned was electronics, but I personally suspect, mining.

One of these geothermal areas is Mt. Apo, which is a sacred place; far from any airport and seaport, not to count the peace and order problem.

Who would locate in such a place?

Moreover, this EO runs counter to environmental laws, preservation of lumad culture and in conflict with ancentral domain claims by cultural communities in the area.

Malacanang should rethink this strategy. The day the EO was signed in Davao, the Mayor of Kidapawan was invited to attend a seminar in Yosemite Park in California on natural park conservation and the Regional Development Council of Southern Mindanao affirming its resolution for the preservation of Mt. Apo Protected Areas (Mindanao Daily Mirror).

Here is a clear case of the right hand of government not knowing what the left hand is doing.

(7:37 a.m.)