By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Leyte Rep. Henry C. Ong proposed on Thursday a “multi-year” underground cabling in Eastern Visayas and in other typhoon-stricken regions starting next year to ensure uninterrupted power, communication, and cable television lines even during typhoons.
The chairman of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries asked the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to bury underground all the country’s electricity power, communication, and cable television lines to avoid or minimize blackouts during typhoons.
“The only place where those cables will be protected versus typhoons and floods is underground. We must start doing this in 2019 and onwards as a climate change adaptation and disaster mitigation program,” Ong, a member of the House Committees on Energy and on Information and Communications Technology said in a statement.
He said it is about time for the government to consider his proposal, recalling how super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) paralyzed the Visayas region on November 8, 2013.
“It is time we accept our fate as a typhoon-stricken country. Lagi na lang tayong binabayo ng bagyo, nagbabagsakan ng poste, at nalalagutan ng kable. Yung ibang pa bagyo ay sing-lakas pa ng bagong Yolanda. Ito ang mabisa at pangmatagalang solusyon,” he said.
Ong recognized that his proposed underground cabling “will require massive investments and meticulous planning by both the power and telecoms sectors.”
“It can be done gradually starting with Eastern Visayas, Bicol, northeastern Mindanao, and the eastern seaboard of Luzon because these are the areas the typhoons hit land at full strength,” he said.
The House leader cited that in Davao City, underground cabling is already underway.
“Their experience there can serve as the model or prototype for the rest of the country,” Ong said.