DOE: No looming power crisis in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2019   •   1322

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

China calls on Philippines to ban all online gambling operations

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – China expressed hope that the Philippine government would ban all online gambling operations following its move to suspend the issuance of new licenses for offshore gaming companies.

Based on an official transcript of a press conference held Tuesday (August 20), China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said it welcomes the Philippines’ suspension of new applications for online gambling licenses.

“We also note the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it. We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” Geng said. 

“We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Geng made the statement after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Monday announced a moratorium on applications for new Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) over several concerns.

The Chinese official also said that “online gambling is a most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said that based on China’s laws and regulations, any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal. 

“The casinos and offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and other forms of gambling entities in the Philippine target Chinese citizens as their primary customers. A large number of Chinese citizens have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry,” it said.

“In many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities do not apply necessary legal work permits for their Chinese employees. Some Chinese citizens are even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas,” it added.

Thousands of Chinese workers were earlier reported to be illegally working for more than 50 online gambling hubs in the Philippines.

Beijing earlier expressed grave concern over Pagcor’s move to transfer Chinese POGO workers to self-contained communities, saying this may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned.

It also appealed to Manila to pay attention to Beijing’s position and concerns and punish Philippine casinos and other forms of gambling entities that are illegally recruiting its citizens.

“The Chinese side also urges relevant departments of the Philippine Government to strengthen law enforcement cooperation with China to jointly combating gambling-related crimes such as money-laundering, illegal employment, kidnapping, extortion, torture, murder etc so as to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and to promote China-Philippine friendship and cooperation,” it added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier raised concern over the proximity of POGOs to military installations as these may be used for espionage.

Malacañang earlier said it sees nothing wrong with the location of POGO hubs near military installations and the creation of self-contained communities of foreign workers as long as it doesn’t violate the law.

READ: Malacañang: No risk in POGO hubs near military camps

However, the Palace would defer to the National Security Council to assess any risk being posed by the foreign operated online gaming operations.

Oplan Pamamalakaya: US, PH soldiers install artificial reefs in Batangas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

Jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials

The Philippine and the United States military divers, along with local government units and non-government organizations installed artificial reefs in Batangas on August 15.

Oplan Pamamalakaya is a collaboration between by the Philippine Air Force, DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Municipality of Calatagan local government and residents.

The team were able to install a total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials. 

“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Major Zach Hart, a participating diver.—AAC

PH among top 5 countries fighting climate change to save surfing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 8, 2019

The Philippines is among the top five surfing countries that are fighting climate change, according to Kalon Surf.

Based on the global research they conducted, the country produced 1.24 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita in 2016. The country also generated 182.5 kilograms of municipal solid waste per capita in 2016.

“In 2018, the Philippines pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The country, with a population of 104 million residents, intends to reduce carbon emissions from its energy, transport, waste, forestry, and industry sectors. As a surfing hotspot, these changes can help preserve the Philippines’ beaches and reduce pollution,” according to their report.

The top countries include Costa Rica, Morocco, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile the bottom surfing countries are United States, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Ireland.

Kalon Surf calls on everyone including surfers to help save the ocean from climate change.

“If we come together and support countries, communities, and policies that are fighting for renewable resources and healthier oceans, we can ride the waves climate change gives us,” their statement reads.—AAC

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