1,500 MW COMMITTED BY END OF AQUINO'S TERM

Committed power capacities will reach 1,500 megawatts nationwide by the end of the Aquino administration’s term, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said. However, that would still fall short of the expected capacity additions for the country to totally spare it from the horrors of a threatening power supply crisis, primarily in Luzon and Visayas. During the groundbreaking rites of the 150-megawatt Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) coal plant in Iloilo, the energy chief asserted “before the end of this administration, we will have 1,500MW of committed power capacities.” In a follow-on interview with reporters, Petilla emphasized that the 1,500MW had not included yet the expanded Iloilo coal plant which will now advance to construction phase. The energy chief was forthright though that ‘firm power investments’ would still not be enough to underpin the economic growth prospects penciled in by the Aquino administration’s economic managers. “We are qualifying because there will be projects that will be delayed, but we are also hoping that there are ‘indicative projects’ that will hopefully advance,” Petilla said. He cited in particular some investment proposals for Mindanao grid, which in 2015 will be expecting on stream some 500MW of additional capacity that can finally end its woes of rolling power outages. By 2016, Petilla noted that FDC Utilities Inc. of the Filinvest group is expected to bring on-line its initial phase of 135-MW, yet based on need for added capacity in the grid, the project sponsor may step up the development of its two other phases.

ALSO: MMDA holds dry run on Pasig River ferry service

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday conducted a dry run on its river bus ferry to cruise along Pasig River.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino led the morning trial run starting from the old Guadalupe ferry station in Makati City up to Intramuros in Manila. Tolentino said the ferry service called “MMDA River Bus Ferry” would be another public transportation option for commuters as the simultaneous construction of major infrastructure road projects in the metropolis has started. These road projects are expected to cause huge traffic jams in the metropolis within the next few months. Reviving a service that had been on and off for the past years, MMDA developed a prototype ferry bus on top of a tug boat capable of carrying up to 40 people. On Tuesday, Tolentino said the operation of the ferry service is temporary and would encourage private companies to give the ferry service another try after its failed ventures in the past.


Editorial: River run

The revival of the Pasig River Ferry comes across as an afterthought, but it’s a welcome idea just the same in view of the traffic gridlock feared to occur when an estimated 15 road projects get underway all at the same time in Metro Manila. (As it is, the traffic situation is a recurring nightmare.)
Because its 25 kilometers snake right through the metropolis, the Pasig River has always been a promising travel alternative to the overwhelmed roads. In recently urging the government to act on that promise, Sen. Ralph Recto said: “We should now utilize this nautical road. It’s toll-free and ready to use.” Indeed, at last month’s Traffic Management Summit, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino announced the plan to reactivate the dormant river ferry service.
Last Wednesday the MMDA invited the media to cover the test run of its proposed “river bus” service, in the hope of grabbing the attention of prospective passengers and investors. From the photographs the river bus didn’t look like much, being quite ad hoc: a 40-seat passenger bus body bolted unto a tugboat, so unlike the ferry boats that used to be employed on the Pasig River. A total of three former rescue tugboats have been converted for ferry use, the MMDA said. But the river bus took an amazing hour and a half to get from Guadalupe in Makati City to Intramuros in Manila, plodding along at an underwhelming five knots. Tolentino attributed the slow pace to the big number of people on board, and assured the public that the actual service would be faster than the previous ferry’s 45-minute travel time. He also said the river bus fare would range from P20 to P25, much less than the previous ferry’s P65.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

1,500 MW committed by end of Aquino’s term

MANILA, MARCH 10, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Myrna Velasco - Committed power capacities will reach 1,500 megawatts nationwide by the end of the Aquino administration’s term, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said.

However, that would still fall short of the expected capacity additions for the country to totally spare it from the horrors of a threatening power supply crisis, primarily in Luzon and Visayas.

During the groundbreaking rites of the 150-megawatt Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) coal plant in Iloilo, the energy chief asserted “before the end of this administration, we will have 1,500MW of committed power capacities.”

In a follow-on interview with reporters, Petilla emphasized that the 1,500MW had not included yet the expanded Iloilo coal plant which will now advance to construction phase.

The energy chief was forthright though that ‘firm power investments’ would still not be enough to underpin the economic growth prospects penciled in by the Aquino administration’s economic managers.

“We are qualifying because there will be projects that will be delayed, but we are also hoping that there are ‘indicative projects’ that will hopefully advance,” Petilla said.

He cited in particular some investment proposals for Mindanao grid, which in 2015 will be expecting on stream some 500MW of additional capacity that can finally end its woes of rolling power outages.

By 2016, Petilla noted that FDC Utilities Inc. of the Filinvest group is expected to bring on-line its initial phase of 135-MW, yet based on need for added capacity in the grid, the project sponsor may step up the development of its two other phases.

The energy chief also acknowledged that there are hurdles to investments, primarily permitting and securing other various approvals from government agencies. “The question now is: how can we help them? A lot of them are already asking for our help,” he stressed.

For Luzon, based on the Department of Energy’s planning, capacity shortfall of 104 to 339MW will hit April to June 2017 if the Aquino administration cannot beef up the level of committed capacities for power projects. Supply tightness will still torment the grid starting next year, especially during peak-demand months.

Visayas grid is similarly threatened, but the expansion of the Iloilo coal plant plus other greenfield projects may still save the area from the ‘brownout cliff’.

The energy department has forecasted power demand growth of 4.2 to 4.6-percent with elasticity ratio of 0.6-percent. The assumed outage rate vis-à-vis total dependable capacity is 6.6-percent.

FROM THE INQUIRER

MMDA holds dry run on Pasig River ferry service By Nestor Corrales 11:55 am | Wednesday, March 5th, 2014


MMDA tests its protoype ferry bus on Pasig River in its bid to revive the Pasig River ferry system. NIÑA CALLEJA/INQUIRER

MANILA, Philippines—The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday conducted a dry run on its river bus ferry to cruise along Pasig River.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino led the morning trial run starting from the old Guadalupe ferry station in Makati City up to Intramuros in Manila.

Tolentino said the ferry service called “MMDA River Bus Ferry” would be another public transportation option for commuters as the simultaneous construction of major infrastructure road projects in the metropolis has started.

These road projects are expected to cause huge traffic jams in the metropolis within the next few months.

Reviving a service that had been on and off for the past years, MMDA developed a prototype ferry bus on top of a tug boat capable of carrying up to 40 people.

On Tuesday, Tolentino said the operation of the ferry service is temporary and would encourage private companies to give the ferry service another try after its failed ventures in the past.

He added that the revival of the river ferry service is scheduled in April this year wherein they would use their own 40 ferries and would charge commuters a minimal fare.

In 2011, the Pasig River Ferry operations stopped due to passenger complaints about the long waiting time at the terminals and the river’s foul smell, among others.

Editorial River run Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:55 am | Sunday, March 9th, 2014


TEST RUN. The MMDA prototype ferry boat to be used for the revival of the Pasig River ferry service from Gualupe in Makati to Intramuros in Manila.

The revival of the Pasig River Ferry comes across as an afterthought, but it’s a welcome idea just the same in view of the traffic gridlock feared to occur when an estimated 15 road projects get underway all at the same time in Metro Manila. (As it is, the traffic situation is a recurring nightmare.)

Because its 25 kilometers snake right through the metropolis, the Pasig River has always been a promising travel alternative to the overwhelmed roads. In recently urging the government to act on that promise, Sen. Ralph Recto said: “We should now utilize this nautical road. It’s toll-free and ready to use.”

Indeed, at last month’s Traffic Management Summit, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino announced the plan to reactivate the dormant river ferry service.

Last Wednesday the MMDA invited the media to cover the test run of its proposed “river bus” service, in the hope of grabbing the attention of prospective passengers and investors. From the photographs the river bus didn’t look like much, being quite ad hoc: a 40-seat passenger bus body bolted unto a tugboat, so unlike the ferry boats that used to be employed on the Pasig River. A total of three former rescue tugboats have been converted for ferry use, the MMDA said.

But the river bus took an amazing hour and a half to get from Guadalupe in Makati City to Intramuros in Manila, plodding along at an underwhelming five knots. Tolentino attributed the slow pace to the big number of people on board, and assured the public that the actual service would be faster than the previous ferry’s 45-minute travel time. He also said the river bus fare would range from P20 to P25, much less than the previous ferry’s P65.

The MMDA’s calendar is ambitious: It intends to make the 14 stations along the length of the Pasig River fully operational by June. And Amy Gamay, information officer of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), expressed confidence that commuters would choose the river bus over conventional land transport, even claiming that the unpleasant smell emitted by the river waters “is no longer that strong compared to previous years.” Tolentino hinted that three private companies were interested in operating the river bus service and that the MMDA would in time step away to let the private sector take over.

Progressive cities of the world use their waterways for the fast and convenient transport of people and cargo.

Attempts have been made to use the Pasig River for this purpose, but the enterprises quickly folded for mostly financial reasons. Starcraft Ferry Corp. plied the Pasig River during the Ramos administration but had to cease operations because of money and management issues. The PRRC, in partnership with private groups, operated the Pasig River Service from 2007 to 2011 but suffered multimillion-peso losses because of low passenger turnout and financial problems, forcing a shutdown of the venture.

Yet in other parts of the world, river ferries and water buses have proven to be just the thing to unclog crowded streets, and turn a profit besides for their operators.

Venice in Italy has a water bus line that helps cushion the impact of over 20 million people who visit the river city yearly. Bangkok, a city notorious for its clogged roads, benefits from express boats and ferries plying the Chao Praya River.

New York’s East River Ferry moves thousands of people and is seen as a magnet for attracting construction and investment on the river’s east bank.

Surely something can be done—perhaps short-term government subsidy?—to make the river ferry project lasting. (The last we looked, the ease of doing business in the country was said to have improved.)

There is admittedly a lot of tasks ahead for the MMDA in this venture, including, according to Tolentino, the rehabilitation of at least four stations and the dredging of shallow portions of the Pasig River.

The MMDA should make it work this time, if only to provide a bit of relief in the lives of great numbers of people grappling with traffic in the metropolis. Let this river run be a working alternative to some Filipinos’ daily torment.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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