Friday, 5 March 2010

Solons, exporters back extra powers

by Christine Herrera and Joyce Pangco Pañares
Manila Standard

Two opposition lawmakers—Reps. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro and Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur—joined 120 exporters in expressing support for President Arroyo’s declaration of a power crisis in Mindanao and sought ways to end the daily outages up to 12 hours in some parts.

The 120 traders, all based in Mindanao and members of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, urged Congress to convene a special session to grant Mrs. Arroyo with powers to carry out emergency measures including the lease or purchase of modular power generating sets.

Earlier Mrs. Arroyo said she would declare a power crisis situation in Mindanao as recommended by Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes.

Rodriguez, a member of the opposition Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, said chronic brownouts last 10 hours in Zamboanga, 12 hours in Surigao provinces, 24 hours in Davao Oriental and five hours in Cagayan de Oro.

Del Monte Philippines has signed the petition, saying its cannery has been adversely affected. Del Monte exports canned juices— mango, orange, pineapple and tomato, and canned sauce—tomato paste, spaghetti sauce and stewed tomato paste.

Rodriguez said exporters of prawns, meat products, furniture, ores and handicrafts were severely affected by the power crisis.

Plaza for his part backed the garnting of emergency powers for President Arroyo to deal with the power crisis in Mindanao.

Plaza, who is running for senator under the PMP, stressed the need for President Arroyo to come out with a detailed action plan to address the power crisis so that Congress would be properly guided on how she would use her added powers.

“Recognizing that the crisis is worsening, we could give her these powers, but she should brief us in detail on how she would deal with it,” Plaza said, adding that “we have to prevent the repeat of anomalies that happened when the government dealt with the power crisis in the 1990s.”

Among the signatories to the petition were Marilyn Camat, chairman of Philexport in Region 10; Wilson Amad, Philexport president of Region 10, Philexport trustee Nora Lao and Luis Sicat, Philexport national corporate secretary.

Amad is engaged in prawn business.

“The exporters are now suffering and are adversely affected by the power crisis for the past two months,” the exporters said.

Rodriguez and Plaza went against their colleagues, mostly administration lawmakers who opposed the convening of a special session.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles insisted that the President has adequate powers under the law to take action during contingencies such as a power crisis.

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