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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 25, 2012
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Serge urges DOE:
Act on hydro plants

Senator Sergio Osmeña III has written to Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras asking him to help hasten the construction of hydro-electric power plants in Negros Occidental.

Osmeña, Senate Committee on Energy chairman, in his letter to Almendras, a copy of which he furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday said, “May I lend my voice of support to the efforts of the people of Negros Occidental to fast-track the construction of three hydro-electric power plants in the cities of Bago, Sagay and Kabankalan.”

Osmeña said reports given to him disclose that a former Secretary of Energy had signed Renewable Energy service contracts (RE contracts) covering all major rivers in Negros Occidental but that the proponents have done almost nothing to implement these projects.

Gov. Alfredo Marañon said the service contracts on the rivers of Negros Occidental were granted during the previous administration when the DOE was headed by the late Secretary Angelo Reyes.

“While the river service contracts expired on October 23, 2011, we are informed that their cancellation is not automatic,” Osmeña said.

Osmeña appealed to Almendras to inquire into the status of these contracts and guide the officials of Negros Occidental in the process of the cancellation of said RE contracts and the conduct of a new transparent and competitive bidding for the concerned hydro-electric power projects.

Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ben Ortega, president of the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Sunday called on the DOE to act on the service contracts on the rivers of Negros Occidental that present a hindrance to the establishment of hydro power plants in the province.

They cited the urgent need for Negros Occidental to have its own power plants.

Jose Ma. Valencia, chief of staff of Marañon Jr., last week said they are urging Almendras to act now on service contracts granted by the DOE before Negros Occidental loses serious investors in much needed hydro electric plants.

The building of hydroelectric power plants in Negros Occidental has been stalled by service contracts granted for almost all the rivers in the province by the DOE to firms that have not even been seen in the province, he said.

Valencia said the DOE said the service contracts were to expire on October 23, but when the provincial government followed up on their cancellation, it was told it was not automatic and the holders have to be given due process.*CPG

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