President Aquino says public-private partnership to make Mindanao investment haven, food basket in Asia-Pacific

September 17, 2010 10:11 am 

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 16 — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday said the government's partnership with the private sector, particularly in harnessing renewable energy sources, can fully realize Mindanao's potential as a sustainable investment haven and food basket in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Chief Executive made this statement as he led the formal launching of the 42.5-megawatt Sibulan Hydroelectric Power Plant, located in Barangay Sibulan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur on Thursday.

A green project of the Aboitiz Power Corporation, the power plant is capable of delivering more than 200 million kilowatt-hours annually of clean and renewable energy to the Davao Light and Power Company to augment the power demand in this city and the provinces of Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte.

While the region abounds with bountiful harvest of fish and agricultural products, the President said Mindanao has not reached its full potential due to decades of political conflict, poverty and the recent energy shortage in several parts of the region.

According to the President, more efforts are now being undertaken to bring peace and progress in Mindanao as well as solutions to resolve the power supply deficiencies experienced by the region, particularly during the first quarter of this year.

"The Sibulan power plant reflects a concrete step in that direction. With the active cooperation between government and the private entities, we are committed to end poverty and bring peace to Mindanao through vibrant growth and economic progress,” he said.

“We will ensure that Mindanao lives up to its name as a food basket, not just of the Philippines, but of the whole Asia-Pacific region," the President added.

In this connection, the President said he has tasked the Department of Energy to create a long-term roadmap to tap other renewable energy sources in Mindanao such as windmills and solar panels, including those in Camiguin, Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental adding that these will attract more investment, spur tourism and provide local employment.

To further address the power problem, the President also encouraged cooperation between local government units and the private sector in establishing other mini-hydro power plant projects in the region.

"These partnerships can be achieved through local business ventures in which rural communities can provide manpower while private investors supply the knowledge and technology. It is also important to rehabilitate inefficient yet still viable plants to maximize their generation capacities," the President said.

With Davao accounting for 51 percent of grid consumption, the operation of the Sibulan power plant is seen to address the estimated supply shortfall in Mindanao of some 500 MW by 2011 and 400 MW by 2014.

Among those present during the launching ceremony were Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, Sta. Cruz Mayor Joel Lopez and Aboitiz Power president and CEO Erramon Aboitiz. (PNA)



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