Thursday, 30 October 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Palace working with Congress to ensure stable power supply next year

Malacañang said it continues to work with Congress to come up with an acceptable solution to the impending power shortage during summer next year.

"The government wants to ensure a stable supply and reasonably priced electricity for our people during the summer months of 2015," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a press briefing at the Palace on Tuesday.

"We will continue working with Congress in providing an appropriate response and a satisfactory solution: stable and reliable supply at rates that are reasonable and not excessive or abusive," he added.

According to Secretary Coloma, the Department of Energy (DOE) has said that even if there is no actual power shortage in the summer of 2015, reserves will likely be thin.

Should there be unexpected breakdowns or unscheduled maintenance of electric power plants, the thin reserves could be depleted and result in rotational brownouts, he explained.

The House of Representatives is currently discussing the proposed joint congressional resolution to grant the President emergency powers to address the projected electricity shortage next year. PND (as)

Palace defends government's post-typhoon Yolanda response

The government on Tuesday clarified that there was no delay in its response during the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda and that assistance to affected communities has continued since disaster struck Eastern Visayas.

"Linawin lang natin: Hindi nabalam, hindi naantala, hindi nahadlangan ang pagbibigay ng kalinga, ang pagpapatupad ng mga proyektong puwede nang ipatupad," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

"Tuloy-tuloy ang pagkilos ng pamahalaan para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng libu-libong pamilyang nasalanta ng Typhoon Yolanda o Haiyan."

Five clusters organized by the government began to work after the typhoon hit the country, Coloma noted.

These five clusters under the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery are: infrastructure under the Department of Public Works and Highways; resettlement under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and National Housing Authority; social services under the Department of Social Welfare and Development; livelihood under the Department of Trade and Industry; and support under the National Economic and Development Authority and Department of Budget and Management.

While the government was crafting the comprehensive master plan, these five clusters have been addressing the needs of the affected communities, Coloma said.

The rehabilitation of these areas began during the first week of July, or eight months after the typhoon hit Eastern Visayas, he said, noting that this is four months earlier compared to rehabilitation efforts in other parts of the world hit by calamities of a similar magnitude.

He further said that the Budget Department has already released funds for various projects and several agencies have also provided quick response funds.

Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson last August 1 submitted to the President the complete plans of the local government units (LGUs) after conducting a post-disaster needs assessment.

The plans were in line with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010.

"At alinsunod sa utos ng Pangulo, bubuuin ang mas detalyadong timetable sa pagpapatupad ng master plan. In other words, ang hinihintay na lang naman ngayon ay ang mas detailed na timetable," he said.

Secretary Coloma said the government is trying to overcome administrative hurdles, such as finding available land, as mentioned by the President.

"Makatitiyak tayo na ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng nararapat para malagpasan ang mga tinatawag nating hindering factors; at nalagpasan na ang marami diyan," he said. PND (as)

Government has right of way in road-widening project in Leyte, says Palace

The government has the right of way in the project to expand roads in Palo, Leyte, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Tuesday.

"Ayon po kay (Public Works) Secretary (Rogelio) Singson, ang pinapairal ng DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) ay ang road right of way, na karapatan ng pamahalaan. At sa pagkilos po nila ay kinokonsulta at nakikipag-ugnayan po sila sa mga local government units and affected stakeholders," Coloma told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

He was responding to a question on the fate of heritage homes that will be affected by the road-widening project in Palo.

"Ayon din po sa kanyang katugunan ay wala pa silang partikular na aksyon doon sa mga itinuturing na ancestral homes," he added.

According to media reports, the DPWH has begun demolishing some houses in Palo to expand the road by 10 meters from the center line, in preparation for the visit of Pope Francis in Tacloban City in January next year.

The project will reportedly cover a number of ancestral houses in the town of Palo and Tacloban City. PND (ag)