DOE: No looming power crisis in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2019   •   1424

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) has allayed fears that the country will face power crisis soon amid a series of yellow and red alerts notices issued on Luzon grid.

DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella stressed in a press briefing on Thursday (April 11) that the potential causes of the current energy problems and its remedies have been identified.

Fuentebella said they have already prepared strategies for possible problems on demand, supply and distribution, adding that the DOE is prepared to face whatever crisis the country may be hit with.

Since last week, Luzon grid has been consecutively experiencing a drop in power supply reserves due to unplanned outages of several power plants.

Fuentebella said that instead of the expected removal of 827 megawatts (MW) from the system due to the scheduled maintenance shutdown of some power plants, the system actually lost 1,452MW after four power plants went into unplanned outages.

These power plants were identified as the Pagbilao Unit 3, which went out on April 2 after it experienced boiler sagging but is scheduled to resume operations on April 16; South Luzon Power Generation Corporation (SLPGC) Unit 2 which was offline since April 7 due to an issue in primary air fan but is set to go online on April 21;

South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation (SLTEC) Unit 1, which went out due to boiler tube leak on March 20 but is scheduled to resume operations on April 13; the Sual Unit 1 which is set to go online on April 17 after experiencing piping leak at its boiling circulating pump on April 9.

The operators of the said power plants have already been asked to submit a report on power outages, according to Fuentebella. DOE will also send personnel to validate these reports.

The energy official also assured that the power supply in the country remains adequate based on power outlook.

Power supply agreements between the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), 70MW Millennium Energy and 161MW Therma Mobile Inc. are also being finalized. These power plants, which are seen to go operational by April 26, are expected to help boost supply this month.

DOE earlier called on the public to conserve and use energy wisely to address power demand upticks amid intense heat this season. – Robie de Guzman

Major volcanic eruptions in the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   January 13, 2020

(FILE) Mayon Volcano spews ash and lava in the town of Daraga, Albay province, Philippines, 25 January 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, along with other countries, is located in the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ – a vast region in the Pacific Ocean where most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

There are 24 volcanoes across the country including Taal Volcano in Batangas, one of the smallest and the most active in the world.

In history, Taal Volcano has recorded a total of 33 eruptions, the latest being in 1977, prior to this year.

The most dangerous was recorded in 1965 where hundreds of people were killed.

Aside from Taal, another notable major volcanic eruption happened in 1991 when Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales erupted and caused major damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure after it released billions of tons of magma onto the surrounding cities and millions of tons of sulfur dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

The eruption brought volcanic deposits as much as 30 feet thick, completely covering houses and structures.

The ashfall reached as far as Singapore.

Until today, remnants of the eruption are visible in the areas of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.

Another active volcano which authorities are closely monitoring due to its notable past is the Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol.

Mayon Volcano is admired worldwide for its beauty being famous for its ‘perfect’ cone shape.

In the past 500 years, Mt. Mayon recorded up to 47 eruptions, making it the most active volcano in the Philippines.

The most dangerous eruption recorded was in 1814 which ruined several towns and killed over a thousand people.

The church of Cagsawa in Albay served as remembrance of the eruption.

Only the tallest portion of the structure remains visible today, reflecting how dangerous the eruption was in 1814.

Other volcanos in the country remain dormant as they do not show signs of activities in the past years.

List of volcanoes in the Philippines:

LUZON

  • Babuyan Claro (Babuyan Island)
  • Banahaw (Laguna and Quezon)
  • Bulusan (Sorsogon, Bicol)
  • Cagua (Cagayan)
  • Camiguin de Babuyanes (Cagayan)
  • Didicas (Cagayan)
  • Iraya (Batanes)
  • Iriga (Camarines Sur)
  • Isarog (Camarines Sur)
  • Mayon (Albay, Bicol)
  • Pinatubo (Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga)
  • Smith (Cagayan)
  • Taal (Batangas)

VISAYAS

  • Biliran (Anas) (Biliran)
  • Cabalian (Southern Leyte)
  • Kanlaon (Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental)

MINDANAO

  • Bud Dajo (Jolo, Sulu)
  • Hibok-hibok (Camiguin)
  • Leonard Kniaseff (Compostela Valley)
  • Makaturing (Lanao Del Sur)
  • Matutum (South Cotabato)
  • Musuan (Calayo, Bukidnon)
  • Parker (South Cotabato)
  • Ragang (Lanao Del Sur, Cotabato)

SOURCE: DOST-PHIVOLCS

PHL, Japan foreign ministers vow to strengthen maritime ties

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2020

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (R) shakes hands with Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (L) during a bilateral meeting in Manila, Philippines, 09 January 2020. EFE-EPA

The Philippines’ foreign minister said Thursday in Manila that his country and Japan had agreed to strengthen their security ties in the South China Sea, an area in which Manila has disputed claims over various islands.

Teodoro Locsin said in a joint press conference with visiting Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu that the two countries had agreed to deepen security ties concerning the rule of law in the disputed area, which has long been the source of maritime tensions with China.

“I was pleased with my candid exchanges with Minister Motegi on issues such as rule of law in the maritime commons and the situation in the West Philippine Sea,” the minister said in the capital’s Makati Shangri-La Hotel, referring to the waters by their official Philippine name.

Locsin said that his country was “committed to continue [its] cooperation – bilaterally and in all possible forums – to maintain peace and security, stability and the rule of law in [the] region.”

Tensions and diplomatic spats between Beijing and Manila over the matter eased through 2019, with the Philippines giving in to its previous refusal to stamp Chinese passports displaying the controversial “nine-dash line” China uses to stake its claims over the sea. Such line claims territory equally disputed by Manila and countries including Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei.

The Philippine foreign minister said the disputes at sea were part of “pressing concerns” in Southeast Asia’s security environment, adding that a survey of this was a crucial factor of the matter’s strategic dialogue.

“We discussed future acquisitions in aid of the modernization of our armed forces and maritime forces,” he said. “I thanked Japan for supporting our acquisition of new air and maritime assets and equipment to enhance our maritime domain awareness and capability, as well as law enforcement and humanitarian responses.”

In Toshimitsu’s first visit to the Philippines since his September appointment, the ministers also signed infrastructural cooperation agreements to improve the country’s bridges and better protect them against the frequent seismic activities the island nation suffers year-round.

Toshimitsu is visiting the Philippines as part of a tour of Southeast Asia, which began over the weekend in Vietnam before heading to Thailand. The Japanese minister is next bound for Indonesia, his last stop prior to returning to Tokyo. EFE-EPA

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Philippines orders mandatory repatriation of its nationals in Iraq

UNTV News   •   January 8, 2020

Manila – The Philippines ordered Wednesday the mandatory repatriation of the country’s 6,000 nationals living in Iraq, after two bases there containing United States troops were attacked by Iran.

The Philippine Embassy in Baghdad raised the alert to “Level Four,” requiring the obligatory repatriation of Filipinos because of a large-scale internal conflict or external attack, Charge d’Affaires Jomar Sadie said in a video posted to the mission’s Facebook page.

Sadie said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued the immediate evacuation order of all his compatriots to all government agencies involved in the field.

The majority of Filipino workers in Iraq live in Kurdistan, particularly in Erbil, although there are also Filipinos in Baghdad.

The president ordered Tuesday his special Middle East envoy Roy Cimatu to travel to the region to coordinate the evacuation efforts, which will see evacuees being sent to Saudi Arabia on a Philippine Coast Guard ship, although military C-130 aircraft could also be used.

Filipinos living in other Middle Eastern countries – about 1.2 million of hem – could also be evacuated if the conflict extends throughout the region.

The threat of an armed conflict between Iran and the US increased after the latter killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani in a Jan. 3 airstrike in Baghdad, to which Iran responded with yesterday’s launch of two missiles on US military bases in Iraqi territory.

Some 10-million Filipinos work abroad and their remittances represent about 10 percent of the country’s wealth.

Filipino workers in the Middle East sent $6.7 million in remittances to the Philippines in 2018 and $5 million between January and October 2019, according to government data.

In neighboring Indonesia, the foreign ministry said in a statement it had prepared a “contingency plan” in the event that the escalating conflict affects the 850 and 474 Indonesians residing in Iraq and Iran respectively.

The most populous Muslim country – where nearly 270 million practice Islam – has so far maintained a neutral position and called on both sides to avoid “any action that could aggravate the situation.” EFE-EPA

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