Aquino witnesses signing of lease agreement between PHIVIDEC and Filinvest that offers long-term solution to Mindanao’s energy problems
President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the ceremonial contract signing of PHIVIDEC and Filinvest Development Utilities Inc. in Malacanang on Wednesday on the lease agreement that paves the way for the construction of a power generation facility in Misamis Oriental.
“This contract signing today demonstrates a new face of Philippine governance: We are witnessing a great step in our shared pursuit of bequeathing to succeeding generations a Philippines that meets its full potential,” the President said in his message after the signing ceremony.
“Through the collective efforts of forward thinkers in public service, and of our partners in Filinvest, we are showing our commitment to sustainable, inclusive growth whose impact will be felt by Filipinos even decades from now.”
Mindanao’s energy situation did not arise overnight and the solution also requires cooperation among stakeholders, which is also expected to take some time, the President said.
The energy problems of Mindanao stemmed from the intentions of politicians to be exempted from the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) and the region’s heavy reliance on the use hydro-powered plants, the chief executive said.
He said previous leaders assumed that cheap hydro power could last forever neglecting the fact that the hydropower plants are machines that need to be maintained, improved and replaced.
And instead of actively protecting the source of hydropower, illegal logging was allowed to continue, destroying watersheds and was compounded by the effects of climate change, he said.
But with the construction of cleaner coal-powered plants in Mindanao, President Aquino said he expects the region’s energy woes to be a thing of the past. Since taking office in 2010, he said his administration immediately began making the structural changes that encouraged the private sector to come in and put up power plants.
For instance, last year, Aboitiz began a project to build two coal-fired power plants in Davao, which will provide a total of 300 megawatts. The project will be finished by late 2015, he said.
“By then, with all the projects we have lined up, we fully expect that this problem will be a thing of the past. And hopefully, the thinking that led us to this problem will also be a thing of the past,” he said.
Also, the President said the Sultan of Brunei, who visited the country this week, expressed his serious intention to bring natural gas to Mindanao. The memorandums of understanding have already been signed for this project, he said.
Filinvest’s Misamis Oriental project is a significant part of the long-term solution for Mindanao’s energy problems, according to the President.
“This signing gives us peace of mind that the permanent solutions are being put in place. By 2016, these three plants, by themselves, will be providing 405 megawatts of coal power to the Mindanao grid. (The figures, I think, should be checked a little.) With the energy these plants will be producing, by 2016, we expect production capacity to be almost 470 megawatts above peak demand,” he said.
The government, in cooperation with the private sector, not only increases Mindanao’s maximum capacity but also reinforces the region’s entire energy supply with more reliable and stable sources.
“We are making their energy infrastructure much more competitive. We should also not forget that in constructing these power plants, Filinvest will be injecting P29-30 billion into Mindanao’s economy, while giving jobs to two thousand workers in the process.”
PHIVIDEC and Filinvest signed Wednesday a 28-year lease contract for an initial 84.4 hectare of land within the PHIVIDEC’s industrial state in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. Filinvest will construct a coal-fired power plant that is expected to support Mindanao’s energy needs.
Filinvest said it is adopting clean coal technology in its Misamis Oriental power plant with a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler. This technology reduces the sulfur dioxide emission as well as nitrogen oxide to negligible levels, thus also reducing its impact on the environment.