Substitute BBL will help ensure energy security

22 June 2015

The substitute Bangsamoro Basic Law being crafted by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Local Government, would help ensure energy security in Mindanao and the entire country.

In his speech at the celebration of Pagadian City’s 46th anniversary as a chartered city, Sen. Bongbong said the rotating brownouts occurring in Mindanao not only make life difficult for the people but also hinder progress and development in the area.

“I am doing my part as a legislator to help solve this serious problem,” the Senator said.

For instance, Sen. Bongbong said he is carefully studying the significant implications of the provision on inland waters in BBL which gives the Bangsamoro government control and supervision over Lake Lanao. He noted that this could affect energy security in Mindanao and the entire country.

Lake Lanao is a critical water resource for the entire Mindanao that provides over 50 percent of the energy supply of Mindanao generated from 6 power plants in the lake’s outlet, Agus River. These power plants are connected to the national grid.

“What would happen if Lake Lanao is allowed to be claimed as part of the “Bangsamoro territory”? Of course, control over it would be divested from the National Power Corporation (NPC) and transferred to the Bangsamoro government,” Sen. Bongbong said.

In the Senate hearing on BBL, the Mindanao Development Authority urged Congress to exclude Lake Lanao from the Bangsamoro territory and ensure it is maintained and kept under the control of the national government for the communal use and benefit of the entire Mindanao.

“We are doing everything to craft a BBL that will be inclusive and beneficial to the whole of Mindanao and our entire nation,” Sen. Bongbong said.

In addition to his efforts to craft a better BBL, Sen. Bongbong said he is also working with electric cooperatives to enable them to improve their services with tax breaks and other privileges they enjoy under the law.

The Senator believes that with proper coordination and cooperation between the government and the private sector, it is possible to remedy the power supply problems of Mindanao. He cited how the National Electrification Administration was able to work with all electric cooperatives to ensure there would be no brownouts during the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight.

“This simple example speaks volumes about the effectivity and workability of the mechanisms of coordination and regulation that are in place in our overall system,” Sen. Bongbong said.

The Senator said the public is tired of hearing excuses such as aging power plants, the need to conduct preventive maintenance, or even sabotage to explain the continuing power supply problem in the country.

To avert an even worse power crisis, Marcos stressed that the concerned government agencies and the private sector should join hands to find a lasting solution to the problem.