By Genalyn Kabiling
Any major player interested in Palawan’s power distribution would have to go through “strict legal processes” before getting government consent, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the assurance after President Duterte announced plans to tap more competent entities if Palawan’s energy cooperative could not solve the frequent power disruptions within the year.
“On the possibility of Chinese electricity producers in Palawan, its entry is merely a business matter owing to their technical knowhow on power outages,” Panelo said in a statement.
“All projects, whether proposed by domestic or foreign entities, shall undergo strict legal processes before any approval is given by the government,” he added.
President Duterte recently gave Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) until the end of the year to fix the power outages in the province or else risk getting replaced by another major energy player.
Duterte threatened to expropriate the franchise of Palawan’s energy cooperative and turn it over to another entity that will do a better job in addressing the power outages. He noted that Chinese companies were interested in power distribution in the province.
“You’ll have to upgrade your source of energy. Kasi ‘pag hindi, ang gawain ko maghanap ako ng may pera talaga. China, eh nangangati ang kamay niyan eh just to get hold of developments here. [Because if not, I will find one with funds. China has been itching to get hold of developments here],” he said during his visit to Puerto Princesa City last Saturday.
“I will expropriate your franchise. Bilihin ko ‘yan [I will buy it] well, at a valuation that is fair. Just compensation kung ganun lang dito, to end this — almost an impasse,” he added.
Duterte said the six to eight hours of power interruptions in Palawan were “not acceptable,” lamenting such outages would affect the development of the province.
He said he intends to meet with the Palawan’s local government officials to discuss the energy concerns in the province.