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3-hour power interruptions burden residents in Metro Manila, parts of Luzon

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Barangay Sto. Cristo, Quezon City resident Marie Louise Cacapit and her child spent the night inside their car because of the power interruption in their area.

“Sa sasakyan kami natulog para malamigan lang. Wala na ngang tubig wala ng kuryente napakinit pa ng panahon, maiiyak kana sa sobrang init, (We slept in the car just to cool ourselves off. There’s no water, no power and then with this heat)” she said.

READ: Power outages might last until April 21

Residents in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon experienced a three-hour power outage, according to National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Carmelito Inocencio, also a resident of Barangay Sto. Cristo Quezon City slept on the floor because of the extreme heat.

“Sobra talagang init grabe talaga, sa sahig na ako umano—sa semento para mahanginan, dito ako malamigan, (It was too hot, I slept on the floor just to feel the cold)” he said.

READ: DOE: No looming power crisis in PH

Thousands of residents in Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon region including Caloocan, Parañaque, and parts of Bulacan and Cavite were affected by the three-hour power interruption.

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) declared a red alert status on Friday (April 12) for 13 hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

NGCP’s data showed that power demand peaked at 10,334 megawatts while the available capacity is only 10,220 megawatts.

The Manila Electric Company (Meraclo) will have three-hour rotational power interruption for its customers to compensate for the low power reserve.

READ: Meralco assures no power outages during elections

Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said there is not enough power reserves.

“Ngayon negative, ibig sabihin wala na talaga tayong mapagkukunang reserba. In fact, deficiency na tayo. Kapag sinabing red alert it means wala ka nang makukuhang reserba para punuan ang pagkukulang, (Now it’s negative. Meaning we have no reserves. In fact, there is a deficiency [in supply]. Red alert means there are no more reserves to fill the demand)” he said.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE) they did not expect the power supply situation to reach the red alert status.

DOE Spokesperson Usec. Felix William Fuentebella said four power plants already shutdown.

“Nagkaroon ng shutdown, nadagdag itong planta na bumigay. So apat na planta plus this on 150MW lumala sitwasyon, (Another power plant shut down. So from four power plants that shutdown plus this one. The situation is getting worse)” he said.

The energy department expects a new alert status by Saturday (April 13).

They also hope that the power situation in the Luzon region will become normal by Wednesday (April 17), when some power plants are expected to resume operations after their temporary shutdown.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Metro Manila shake drill set on July 27 – MMDA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

FILE: PNP National Headquarters participated in the 1st Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on April 21, 2016. Response and Rescue operations were also done during the activity. (Photo: PNP FB Page)

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is set to hold an earthquake drill, dubbed as Metro Manila Shake Drill, on July 27.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said this year’s shake drill will start as early as four in the morning, to be signaled by the sounding of an alarm.

“For this year, it will be done on a weekend and at almost the break of dawn when most Metro Manila residents are at home and asleep,” he said.

“We are doing this to prepare everyone to minimize damage and loss of life,” he added.

Garcia said they intentionally scheduled the drill very early in the morning so the public can participate.

Shake drills in the past years were done during daytime and even on rush hours, with last year leveling up to an unannounced, rush hour daytime drill.

“We want to test the response capabilities and preparedness of LGUs and the private sector as earthquake may occur anytime,” Garcia said.

The MMDA official added that during the shake drill, they will mobilize agency employees, Metro local government units and other groups to demonstrate their contingency plans in case strong earthquake hits the metropolis.

MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim, also the head of the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC), will visit city halls and designated emergency operation centers in the metro on the day of the drill.

Different emergency scenarios will also be staged at city hall offices, establishments, communities, businesses, and households.

“We expect more active and full participation of the private sector as government’s partner in disaster and emergency preparedness and response for Metro Manila,” said Garcia.

During the drill, the agency will also practice the deployment of personnel to designated emergency operation centers located at the four quadrants in Metro Manila.

The MMDA said the northern quadrant will use the Veterans Memorial Medical Center Golf Course as evacuation camp while the western quadrant will use the Intramuros Golf Course.

The eastern quadrant will use the LRT-2 Santolan Depot while the southern quadrant will use the Villamor Golf Course.

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DOTr’s Tugade meets with Tolentino on emergency powers bid vs PH traffic woes

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday met with Senator Francis Tolentino to discuss plans on refiling an emergency powers bill to solve the country’s traffic woes, particularly in Metro Manila.

Tugade said he met with Tolentino to tackle the measure that has been pending in both chambers of Congress for more than two years.

The transportation chief said he will do his best to convince lawmakers to pass the bill, which he sees as a vital solution to the country’s perennial problem on traffic.

“‘Wag po nating pabaunan ng duda ‘yung deliberasyon, pababaunan ko yan ng kaliwanagan sa pag-uusap. Naniniwala ako na kung ang mga mag-uusap ay may kaliwanagan, magkakaroon ng kooperasyon, pwede po nating mapadali ito,” he told reporters in an interview.

(Let us not cast doubt on the deliberation, I will shed light on its importance during discussion. I believe than when it is tackled by people who understand it, there will be cooperation. This can be fast-tracked.)

Tolentino earlier said he will push for the emergency powers bid once the incoming 18th Congress convenes on July 22.

The lawmaker said his version of the bill focuses on strengthening the mandate of concerned agencies and local government units to address the traffic crisis.

“Nalagyan natin ng ibang detalye na wala dati, for instance ‘yung working hours, ‘yung adjustment ng oras ng pagpasok at yung role ng mga local government units,” he said.

(We have placed there details that are not present in the previous bill, for instance the working hours, adjustment of working hours and the role of local government units.)

The bill seeking to ease the worsening traffic situation was first filed after Duterte said in his 2016 State of the Nation Address that traffic problems should be legitimately addressed if Congress could accord him emergency powers.

He eventually gave up on his plan after some lawmakers said that the emergency powers might be used for corruption.

Under the proposed Traffic Crisis Act, previously filed in the 17th Congress, the Transportation Secretary will be designated as Traffic Chief with power of control and supervision over land transportation agencies. He will also have the authority to harmonize and enforce all traffic rules and regulations to implement a unified traffic system throughout each of the metropolitan areas and implement programs that will have significant impact on addressing the traffic crisis.

The bill was approved on third and final reading of the House of Representatives while its Senate version reached the plenary but was not approved until the 17th Congress adjourned.

Although there is a need to resolve the worsening traffic woes in the country, the DOTr said that once the bill is refiled, they will not ask the president to certify it as urgent.

“Kung magkasundo po kami sa mga datos at detalye, hindi po ba mas magandang pumunta kami kay pangulo na handa na yung detalye kaysa blanket na hihingin na wala pang detalye?  Hindi ho ba mas magandang proseso yung ganun?” he said. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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DILG chief commends new Metro Manila mayors for good performance

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

(L-R) Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto, Makati Mayor Abby Binay and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has commended Metro Manila mayors for their good performance in their first 100 days.

Año has lauded Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso for his political will in solving several problems in Manila. This includes the clean-up in Divisoria and waste-management program.

“I’m pleased that in the first weeks of his administration, Mayor Isko has already shown that the challenges of the city are not insurmountable and can be addressed with political will and commitment,” he said.

Año also lauds Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto and Makati Mayor Abby Binay for their good performance. He assured to support these young leaders.

“Our young leaders can count on our support to implement their good governance agenda. That is why the DILG is here. We are not only your supervisors, we are also your partners and mentors, your guidance counselors and your cheerleaders. Your success is our success as well,” he said.—AAC

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