Gov: 2 weeks after Odette, Bohol still in the dark

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 29 2021 10:00 AM

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MANILA – The local government of Bohol is still working with national government agencies to restore power to the typhoon-hit province, Governor Arthur Yap said Wednesday.

Asked how the province is doing after the onslaught of typhoon Odette, Yap said, “More than a week, we’re still struggling.”

“Telecommunications is still down. So that means talking to 20-25 municipalities continues to be a challenge. In the areas where there are signals, and it’s really Smart right now that has signal here in Bohol. It fluctuates, even as there are signals.”

“And in the area of power, we are still without power 2 weeks after typhoon Odette,” he said.

“And we’re still working very closely, like this morning we’re trying to get in touch with the (Energy Regulatory Commission) through [ex-Justice] Agnes Devanadera, and we were on the phone also last night with Secretary Al Cusi, because there are exemptions that need to be given to the distribution utilities if they are to draw from power barges at this point in time.”

“And we are also asking, and pressuring the National Grid Corporation [of the Philippines] to bring in power barges because it’s really impossible, they can’t give us commitment or a date when they can put up their towers and their connections back to Leyte,” Yap added.

“So if we can’t draw power from our regular connection from Leyte, we have to draw power from power barges and generators. And even those require exemptions from the DOE and the ERC,” he explained.

“So we’re nearing New Year right now and we’re working frantically, very hard to hopefully have those connections and those generators in place.”

Yap had previously said that local electric cooperative Boheco I may give power to 33 percent of its franchise area, 37 percent for Boheco II and 50 percent for Bohol Light by December 31, or New Year’s Eve.

The governor said they are working hard to meet this goal for their constituents.

“I’m asking the distribution utilities, what do you need? What do you need right now? And that’s what they’re saying. They’re saying we still need an exemption from the DOE, we need an exemption from the ERC, and I’m assuring the distribution utilities that according to Secretary Al Cusi, all of those, they’re already considered approved.”

“It’s just a question of getting the paperwork done,” he said. 

Yap said Boholanos had a very bleak Christmas amid the lack of power in the province.

“Immediately, no power means having celebrated Christmas in the dark. Having no power means celebrating Christmas without power, without water because the production of water is so dependent on power.”

“Celebrating Christmas without power means celebrating Christmas without telecommunications, without being able to say ‘hello, I love you, Merry Christmas’ to your family and loved ones,” he explained.

“The entire fabric of Bohol celebrated Christmas in very bleak circumstances,” Yap said.

“Of course we Filipinos are a very positive-thinking people. We’re very much optimist, but I must tell you and I must share with you, it was really very bleak last December [25] when we celebrated Christmas.”

--ANC, 29 December 2021