By Atty. Rene Espina
The future progress of any country is dependent on the adequate availability of electric power, water, basic infrastructure, roads, wharves, airports, communication, and a well-educated population. The recent 6.8 earthquake in the Tongonan area in Ormoc City has affected the supply of electricity in the Central Visayan Region 7 and the Eastern Visayan Region 8 of Samar and Leyte.
In Cebu, we have recurring brownouts of about an hour. In the Bohol area, it is a couple of hours every day. And in the Leyte-Samar area, there are many places without electricity or with longer brownouts.
The lack of electricity supplied by the geothermal sources in Leyte was caused by the earthquake that cut off electrical distribution. It destroyed electricity lines and posts have moved or fallen to the ground, damaged transformers and shaken generators, and piped geothermal steam connections that have to be repaired and or reconnected.
In a number of places the estimated repair cycle would be anywhere from two weeks to one month. Bohol’s problems will be solved by the relocation of floating power barges from Iloilo and from Surigao to Bohol. The Cebu grid will be reconfigured by installing transformers, so that the Cebu grid will be reconnected to the Leyte grid, i.e., Compostela-Daan Bantayan to the Ormoc grid.
From the various reports that we have received, it is obvious that: First, we have to review the existing foundations of generators that have been installed all over the Philippines where earthquakes are expected. When needed, additional reinforced foundations will be added. Second, the geothermal pipes should likewise be strengthened. Third, the grid transformer bases should be reinforced. Fourth, the distribution pylons as well as the wires should be redesigned to be as earthquake-proof as possible. Fifth, the supply of electricity should be expanded so that we have an extra capacity of at least 30% in the worst condition of supply and demand.
In the process of electricity expansion, we must include even coal-fired plants. The plants will be used for periods when there is a shortage of electricity due to earthquakes, typhoons, or any other reason and for taking up peak loads. Potential geothermal sources all over the country as well as solar and windmill generators will be exploited. President DU30 has his “build” program for infrastructure. May I suggest that power plant construction should also be included in the program.
While I am talking about the build program, why not review the needs of our AFP: 1) Are we self sufficient in the manufacture of small arms, rifles, machine guns, and ammunition? 2) How about mortars, bazookas, and recoilless light cannons and their ammunition? Why don’t we assemble armored cars and personnel carriers? Let’s assemble helicopters, missiles-small and long range? I do not think that these weapons are beyond our capability to at least copy and or assemble.
So let’s start by expanding our ammunition plants, standardizing our small arms and weapons, and manufacturing them in our country. Eventually build our own small to medium navy ships in our own shipyards. Yes, the Filipino can do it!
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