NOY SEEKS EMERGENCY POWERS FROM CONGRESS 

SEPT 10 --With widespread blackouts looming next year due to shrinking energy sources, President Aquino is asking Congress to give him emergency powers so he can stave off a potential crisis that can push back economic growth and shatter his administration’s gains. An energy crisis in 2015 is also expected to complicate efforts by the administration to win votes in the general elections the following year. “To be more efficient and impactful in our efforts, very soon we will formally ask Congress for a joint resolution that will authorize the national government to contract an additional generating capacity to address the 300-megawatt projected deficit and, on top of that, to have sufficient regulating reserves equivalent to four percent of peak demand, for another 300 megawatts,” Aquino said in a speech during the launching of the 420-megawatt Pagbilao III power plant project in Makati City.

“I am told that the worst-case scenario even involves a shortage of around 1,000 megawatts. Let me assure you: we are keeping tabs on all the factors involved, and I am very much aware that government cannot be complacent in addressing these issues,” he said. “After all, should there be a shortage, it is our people who will bear the brunt of the burden – and no amount of excuses or explanations will be able to temper the anger of the public,” he pointed out. Energy officials have warned the public of long and frequent blackouts, especially in summer next year, as existing capacity is not enough to satisfy rising demand. Aquino said the Department of Energy has intensified its coordination and consultation with consumers, industry stakeholders and other agencies as part of efforts to address the problem. Part of their efforts include the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which allows major end-users to disconnect from the grid, use their own generators and receive compensation, as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, the President said. “But this is a voluntary program, and private companies will have their own valid reasons to choose to participate or not in this venture,” the President said. “We have generated 142 megawatts through the ILP – but effectively dependable output is only 71 megawatts, based on historical performance,” he said.*READ MORE...

ALSO: House ‘likely’ to grant Aquino emergency powers–Belmonte 

SEPT 12 --The House of Representatives will “very likely” grant President Benigno Aquino III the emergency powers he will need to address the looming power shortage in 2015, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said Friday. “Very likely. We dread shortages in 2015,” Belmonte said in a text message to reporters.
The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) allows emergency powers to the President “upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity.” “Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve,” Section 71 of the law reads. The House leader added that the chamber would still wait for further instructions from the President on how to draft the joint resolution. “We need to know exactly what will be done,” he added. Aquino announced that he would be seeking additional powers to have the legal mandate to contract additional power capacity in 2015. “Very soon, we will formally ask Congress for a joint resolution, that will authorize the national government to contract an additional generating capacity to address the 300-megawatt projected deficit, and, on top of that, to have sufficient regulating reserves equivalent to four percent of peak demand, for another 300 megawatts,” Aquino said on Thursday in a bid to address the expected shortage in summer, when thinning power reserves were likely. However, Aquino assured the business sector that government intervention would only address the power shortage. “We have no plans of intervening to distort the market or complicate the situation even further,” Aquino explained.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Aquino still won't name presidential bet  

SEPT 12 --President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday addressed his Cabinet members and allies in Congress to set the agenda for the remaining years of his administration. In his televised speech, Aquino said some politicians are already posturing for the elections and he has been repeatedly asked on how he can ensure that his reforms can be sustained even beyond 2016. Aquino said he is obligated to find his successor, but he still won't anoint one. "Sa mga nagtatanong kung sino ang magpapatuloy, baka naman po nagkakamali tayo ng tanong. Baka hindi talaga sino ang dapat nating hanapin dahil walang ibang sagot sa tanong na iyan kung hindi tayong lahat ang magpapatuloy nito," Aquino said. The president reiterated that he has also been urged to seek a second term to guarantee that his legacy will continue. However, he shot down speculations of reelection, saying he will reveal his presidential bet at the right time. "Darating po ang panahon para sa pagpili natin ng kandidato na magpapatuloy ng ating tuwid na landas. Sana po, hindi ako ang kandidatong iyon," the president said. Aquino also expressed confidence that Filipinos will be able to see through inefficient and corrupt leaders. "Tiwala po ako, maski anong panlilinlang o pagpostura, makikita ng ating mga boss kung sino ang ampaw at kung nais silang pagsamantalahan. Masusuri nila kung sino ang talagang handa silang ipaglaban," Aquino said.THIS IS THE FULL STORY

ALSO: Aquino hits GMA, critics anew  

SEPT 12 --OLD PHOTO: Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shakes hands with then incoming President Benigno Aquino III for the inauguration rites of the new chief executive. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Marcelino Pascua MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III did not miss in taking a swipe at the past administration and his critics when he addressed government leaders on Friday. Speaking to his Cabinet members and allies in Congress, Aquino recalled the allegations of corruption that hounded former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo such as the fertilizer fund scam, the NBN-ZTE deal and the alleged 2004 election fraud.

"Namanhid na ang taumbayan; marami ang halos sumuko na sa kanilang gobyerno dahil parang napakaimposible nga namang buwagin ang maling sistema, kung ang mismong nasa tuktok ang promotor nito," Aquino said during his agenda-setting dialogue. Aquino said the economy suddenly grew before the 2010 elections because a potential change in governance was then imminent. The president also cited the achievements of his administration such as various infrastructure projects and the conditional cash transfer program, among others. He then criticized the Arroyo administration for failing to implement these. "Ang mga ito, inambisyon ng iba, pinangako ng iba, at tayo na nga po ang tumupad," Aquino said. "Ang mga tagumpay pong ito, kinaya natin; bakit hindi kinaya ng iba? Hindi lang natin ginawa ang dapat gawin; nilagpasan pa natin ito," he added. *READ MORE...

ALSO: China issues travel warning for the Philippines  

SEPT 12 --China on Friday warned its citizens not to travel to the Philippines after a Chinese teenager who worked in a family-run store was kidnapped. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said it was worried because of plots confirmed by the police in the Philippines that criminal groups planned to attack the Chinese embassy, Chinese companies and public venues such as malls. “Given that the safety situation in the Philippines is deteriorating, the consular service of the foreign ministry is asking Chinese nationals not to travel to the Philippines for the time being,” the warning read.
The warning comes as relations between the countries have soured and even turned hostile in recent years as Beijing and Manila battle over claims to the same territory in the South China Sea. Sought for comment on China’s travel advisory, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message, “We’re studying it at this time.” On late Thursday, 18-year-old Li Peizhi was seized by unidentified gunmen in Zamboanga Sibugay province’s Kabasalan township, Senior Inspector Leo Castillo said. The gunmen also took 20,000 pesos ($455) from the store’s cash register. Castillo, the provincial police spokesman, said officers in pursuit found the kidnappers’ vehicle burning in a village about two kilometers (1.25 miles) away. Mayor George Cainglet said Abu Sayyaf militants who kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell in 2011 may have been involved. He said no ransom demand had been made. With a report from Matikas Santos THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Chinese teen businessman kidnapped in Zamboanga Sibugay 

SEPT 12 --A Chinese teenager who managed a family-run store has been kidnapped by four gunmen in a southern Philippine province where militants kidnapped an Australian three years ago, the police said. The unidentified gunmen seized 18-year-old Li Peizhi late Thursday in Zamboanga Sibugay province’s Kabasalan township, said Senior Inspector Leo Castillo. The gunmen also took 20,000 pesos ($455) from the store’s cash register. Castillo, the provincial police spokesman, said officers in pursuit found the kidnappers’ vehicle burning in a village about two kilometers (1.25 miles) away. Mayor George Cainglet said Abu Sayyaf militants who kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell in 2011 may have been involved. Rodwell was released 15 months later after his family paid a ransom. Cainglet, who convened the town’s crisis management committee, said no ransom demand had been made. Castillo said local police backed by army soldiers have set up road blocks and launched coastal patrols. The military says the Abu Sayyaf is holding about 10 hostages, including two Germans and two European birdwatchers. Despite U.S.-backed military offensives that crippled the group, the Abu Sayyaf remains a threat and kidnappings have become a major fund-raising activity for the group. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO Manila Standard Opinion: A made-up crisis  

SEPT 10 --Just to complete the picture of government’s incompetence and ineptitude, we seem to have walked right into a full-blown power crisis that none of our officials have foreseen. But instead of just apologizing for the problem, like he did with the traffic situation, President Noynoy Aquino apparently wants to use the power crisis for his own benefit. Of course, it probably won’t be a real Aquino administration if it didn’t have problems with the overall power situation. But instead of just some Cory-era flashback involving not enough power to supply the needs of business and ordinary consumers, the current Aquino government has started to make sinister noises about how remedying the situation would require more emergency political power.

It’s ironic that when Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla took over the Department of Energy a couple of years back, he would always downplay warnings, mostly emanating from private sector power producers, that a serious power crisis was in the offing. These days, of course, with power plants breaking down on a regular basis, Petilla has changed his tune: he is now the foremost advocate of granting Aquino emergency powers to fix the power supply problem that didn’t exist before. The thing is, everyone who went through the Cory years—and the early Ramos years right after— already knows what granting the President emergency powers to solve an energy crisis that didn’t exist in the beginning understands what this entails. Not only that, we already know how neglect and shortsightedness caused the rotating 12-hour “brownouts” that infested Cory’s Aquino’s term like coup-happy soldiers.

Because Cory did not want to continue the Marcos administration’s energy programs, power plants started to break down early in her term. And when they did, the “emergency” solution was the purchase and contracting of expensive power barges, which benefited only a few favored suppliers and did not at all solve the problem on a long-term basis. It was left to Fidel Ramos, after he replaced Cory and using the vast powers of his office in emergency-like fashion, to enter into the take-or-pay deals that finally licked the problem of inadequate supply. However, because of the emergency nature of the Ramos solution (including waiving the requirement for bidding out new power plants and a lack of interest in protesting the onerous, aforementioned take-or-pay provisions, which basically mean that we pay for all energy generated, whether we use it or not), we have been left to suffer the regime of high power rates that still bedevil us today.

Yes, we’ve already been there and been done in by power supply emergencies and subsequent attempts to remedy them. But the current Aquino and his energy henchmen never mention these things, in the hope that we never remember, apparently. Well, not all of us have forgotten. And if the solution to the new energy crisis—precipitated once again by incompetence and lack of foresight, but with a power-hungry twist—is to purchase exorbitant energy from the usual crony sources once again, then I do believe we’re being set up for the shock of our lives. *READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Noy seeks emergency powers from Congress


President Aquino addresses the crowd during the launching of the 420-megawatt Pagbilao lll power plant project at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City yesterday.

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Aurea Calica - With widespread blackouts looming next year due to shrinking energy sources, President Aquino is asking Congress to give him emergency powers so he can stave off a potential crisis that can push back economic growth and shatter his administration’s gains.

An energy crisis in 2015 is also expected to complicate efforts by the administration to win votes in the general elections the following year.

“To be more efficient and impactful in our efforts, very soon we will formally ask Congress for a joint resolution that will authorize the national government to contract an additional generating capacity to address the 300-megawatt projected deficit and, on top of that, to have sufficient regulating reserves equivalent to four percent of peak demand, for another 300 megawatts,” Aquino said in a speech during the launching of the 420-megawatt Pagbilao III power plant project in Makati City.

“I am told that the worst-case scenario even involves a shortage of around 1,000 megawatts. Let me assure you: we are keeping tabs on all the factors involved, and I am very much aware that government cannot be complacent in addressing these issues,” he said.

“After all, should there be a shortage, it is our people who will bear the brunt of the burden – and no amount of excuses or explanations will be able to temper the anger of the public,” he pointed out.

Energy officials have warned the public of long and frequent blackouts, especially in summer next year, as existing capacity is not enough to satisfy rising demand. Aquino said the Department of Energy has intensified its coordination and consultation with consumers, industry stakeholders and other agencies as part of efforts to address the problem.

Part of their efforts include the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which allows major end-users to disconnect from the grid, use their own generators and receive compensation, as approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, the President said.

“But this is a voluntary program, and private companies will have their own valid reasons to choose to participate or not in this venture,” the President said.

“We have generated 142 megawatts through the ILP – but effectively dependable output is only 71 megawatts, based on historical performance,” he said.

* He said that while 71 megawatts may be significant, such capacity is “obviously still very far from addressing even the best-case scenario of having a minimum power deficiency by next year.”

The President said the department of Energy (DOE) would continue soliciting participation for ILP until next year.

“Let me assure our partners from the private sector: Government intervention will be focused solely on addressing the projected shortage. We have no plans of intervening to distort the market or complicate the situation even further,” he said.

No crisis

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla earlier asked the President to invoke Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act which – while prohibiting the government from putting up power plants – allows the President to seek Congress’ permission for authority to establish additional generating capacity under approved terms and conditions. Such flexibility is allowed only if there is clear and imminent shortage of electricity supply.

Petilla said the deficiency expected by summer next year is seen to last for about 20 days – with two-hours of rotating blackouts everyday – and then “disappear afterwards.”

As such, he said using the term “crisis” may not be appropriate to describe the looming situation.

“To me that is a shortfall that is livable. But for many people, it is already unacceptable. For the business community that is also unacceptable because we have gotten accustomed to regular power, that’s why even with only two hours of brownout, we consider it as crisis already,” the energy chief said.

Petilla said a Congress resolution is needed to be issued this month at the latest to enable the government to start contracting the needed capacity by October.

He said contracting of the additional capacities would likely be done through the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. with funding to come either from the Malampaya Fund or through self-financing.

“We have a projected deficiency by 2015 of about 285 MW but we need to put up comfortable, reasonable reserve of about 300 MW so we are looking at 600 MW as insufficiency for next year,” Petilla said.

“What we actually want is for the government to contract additional capacity. Basically, we’re not after any other thing than allow the government to contract additional capacity on a short term basis, that’s it. For that to be legalized, you need for the president to declare (state of emergency),” he added.

Law clear

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the law stated in very clear terms that the President “may do what he said he will do in order to address a shortage in supply.”

Coloma said the government would like to be proactive in dealing with the projected shortage and that other options would be explored as well to fill the gap in supply.

“This is not like an off-the-shelf item that we can get in times of need. We really need to be proactive,” Coloma said.

He said preparation was key and that the government has six months to consider all options to tackle the shortage.

Coloma said the tack would also help avoid conflict as all concerned sectors would have ample time to prepare as well as contribute solutions.

“What we are asking here is cooperation among all sectors – executive, legislative, private sector and the people, who can also exert energy conservation efforts,” Coloma said.

Aquino called Pagbilao III, which would be completed in November 2017, a strategic investment – not only in infrastructure and equipment, but more importantly in the future of the Filipino people and the country.

The 400 megawatts the project is expected to generate would represent a significant addition in the form of baseload power, Aquino said, adding “this is absolutely necessary to ensure a steady supply of the power that Filipinos need day in and day out, even as we seek to diversify the energy mix by bringing in other power sources.”

But Aquino said the additional production capacity is just one of the benefits of the project.

He said that during the construction of the project, the company would be creating jobs for 2,000 men and women. The hiring of people would naturally have a significant multiplier effect on the local community, he said.

The President, in his speech, also thanked TeaM Energy Corp. and Aboitiz Power Corp. for their continuing confidence in the Philippines.

Aquino said his administration has always prioritized reforming the country’s energy sector.

“Growing demand is only one of the challenges that our energy sector must contend with. This increase in demand is due, in part, for instance, to the change in personal lifestyle that progress brings… Of course, the increase in demand for power is also brought about by the Philippines’ economic resurgence,” Aquino said.

Scenario complicated

Aquino said the entire power situation is more complicated than it appears.

“Forced power plant outages have been observed to rise especially in the summer months, coinciding with the periods of peak demand. This situation results in quite thin reserves, particularly in Luzon,” he said.

“Of course, these outages are unannounced and sudden, brought about by the effects of ambient temperatures on the operation of thermal plants; low water supply for hydropower plants; and turbine and part issues of other existing power plants,” the President said.

“And there are the many other factors that affect our power supply adversely: weather phenomena such as El Niño and the typhoons that visit our country every year; the de-rating of plants due to unforeseen problems; and delays in the construction of power plants; and various legal challenges to the setting up of these power plants are also part of the problem mix,” he said.

On top of this, Aquino said part of current supply was coming from plants running beyond their maximum age. For instance, Agus 6 in Mindanao, which was originally designed to have only a 30-year lifespan, has now been running for more than twice as long, Aquino said.

“Not to mention, the effect of climate change that has largely impaired its production capacity. And this is only one of the factors that have made the power situation in Mindanao challenging,” he said.

“Their exemption from the EPIRA law also made it difficult for investors to come in, since they knew they would be competing with the artificially low prices of government owned plants,” the President said.

He said it is only through the government and the private sector working together that the Philippine energy sector can realize its full potential.

“Together, we can find solutions now, and address existing issues once and for all. We need power to continue our resurgence. We need projects like Pagbilao III to sustain the momentum of the Philippines – to power our homes, our industries, and our economy well into a brighter future,” Aquino said.

The President said the energy sector must be up to the task. – Edith Regalado, Richmond Mercurio

FROM THE INQUIRER

House ‘likely’ to grant Aquino emergency powers–Belmonte  By Marc Jayson Cayabyab |INQUIRER.net4:29 pm | Friday, September 12th, 2014


BELMONTE

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will “very likely” grant President Benigno Aquino III the emergency powers he will need to address the looming power shortage in 2015, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said Friday.

“Very likely. We dread shortages in 2015,” Belmonte said in a text message to reporters.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) allows emergency powers to the President “upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity.”

“Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve,” Section 71 of the law reads.

The House leader added that the chamber would still wait for further instructions from the President on how to draft the joint resolution.

“We need to know exactly what will be done,” he added.

Aquino announced that he would be seeking additional powers to have the legal mandate to contract additional power capacity in 2015.

“Very soon, we will formally ask Congress for a joint resolution, that will authorize the national government to contract an additional generating capacity to address the 300-megawatt projected deficit, and, on top of that, to have sufficient regulating reserves equivalent to four percent of peak demand, for another 300 megawatts,” Aquino said on Thursday in a bid to address the expected shortage in summer, when thinning power reserves were likely.

However, Aquino assured the business sector that government intervention would only address the power shortage.

“We have no plans of intervening to distort the market or complicate the situation even further,” Aquino explained.

Aquino still won't name presidential bet By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated September 12, 2014 - 11:49am 4 15 googleplus0 0


File photo showing President Benigno Aquino III with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II. Both are potential candidates in the 2016 presidential elections. Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday addressed his Cabinet members and allies in Congress to set the agenda for the remaining years of his administration.

In his televised speech, Aquino said some politicians are already posturing for the elections and he has been repeatedly asked on how he can ensure that his reforms can be sustained even beyond 2016.

Aquino said he is obligated to find his successor, but he still won't anoint one.

"Sa mga nagtatanong kung sino ang magpapatuloy, baka naman po nagkakamali tayo ng tanong. Baka hindi talaga sino ang dapat nating hanapin dahil walang ibang sagot sa tanong na iyan kung hindi tayong lahat ang magpapatuloy nito," Aquino said.

The president reiterated that he has also been urged to seek a second term to guarantee that his legacy will continue. However, he shot down speculations of reelection, saying he will reveal his presidential bet at the right time.

"Darating po ang panahon para sa pagpili natin ng kandidato na magpapatuloy ng ating tuwid na landas. Sana po, hindi ako ang kandidatong iyon," the president said.

Aquino also expressed confidence that Filipinos will be able to see through inefficient and corrupt leaders.

"Tiwala po ako, maski anong panlilinlang o pagpostura, makikita ng ating mga boss kung sino ang ampaw at kung nais silang pagsamantalahan. Masusuri nila kung sino ang talagang handa silang ipaglaban," Aquino said.

Aquino hits GMA, critics anew By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated September 12, 2014 - 2:45pm 35 218 googleplus0 0


Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shakes hands with then incoming President Benigno Aquino III for the inauguration rites of the new chief executive. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Marcelino Pascua

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III did not miss in taking a swipe at the past administration and his critics when he addressed government leaders on Friday.

Speaking to his Cabinet members and allies in Congress, Aquino recalled the allegations of corruption that hounded former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo such as the fertilizer fund scam, the NBN-ZTE deal and the alleged 2004 election fraud.

"Namanhid na ang taumbayan; marami ang halos sumuko na sa kanilang gobyerno dahil parang napakaimposible nga namang buwagin ang maling sistema, kung ang mismong nasa tuktok ang promotor nito," Aquino said during his agenda-setting dialogue.

Aquino said the economy suddenly grew before the 2010 elections because a potential change in governance was then imminent.

The president also cited the achievements of his administration such as various infrastructure projects and the conditional cash transfer program, among others. He then criticized the Arroyo administration for failing to implement these.

"Ang mga ito, inambisyon ng iba, pinangako ng iba, at tayo na nga po ang tumupad," Aquino said.

"Ang mga tagumpay pong ito, kinaya natin; bakit hindi kinaya ng iba? Hindi lang natin ginawa ang dapat gawin; nilagpasan pa natin ito," he added.

* Aquino then lashed back at those who continue to criticize the programs of his administration.

"Ang problema po, tuloy ang pagkontra nila habang tayo’y nagtatanim, pero tiyak ko po, pagdating sa panahon na aanihin na ang mga bunga nito, sila pa ang mangunguna sa pagpapapapel," he said.

He also reiterated some of his remarks during his State of the Nation Address that those against his reforms are also against the benefits brought to the people.

"Kung sabihin naman nila, sang-ayon sila sa mga ito at pakay din nilang arugain ang ating mga boss, ang magiging tanong ko po sa kanila: Bakit hindi namin kayo nakasama?" Aquino asked.

"Kung sang-ayon kayo, bakit pinipili ninyong sumalungat sa aming ipinaglalaban, kaysa sumama na lang kayo’t makiambag sa positibong transpormasyon ng lipunan?" the president added.

As for his allies in government, Aquino urged them to continue working hard and tread the straight path.

FROM THE INQUIRER

China issues travel warning for the Philippines Associated Press2:39 pm | Friday, September 12th, 2014 446 55


INQUIRER.net STOCK PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—China on Friday warned its citizens not to travel to the Philippines after a Chinese teenager who worked in a family-run store was kidnapped.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said it was worried because of plots confirmed by the police in the Philippines that criminal groups planned to attack the Chinese embassy, Chinese companies and public venues such as malls.

“Given that the safety situation in the Philippines is deteriorating, the consular service of the foreign ministry is asking Chinese nationals not to travel to the Philippines for the time being,” the warning read.

The warning comes as relations between the countries have soured and even turned hostile in recent years as Beijing and Manila battle over claims to the same territory in the South China Sea.

Sought for comment on China’s travel advisory, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message, “We’re studying it at this time.”

On late Thursday, 18-year-old Li Peizhi was seized by unidentified gunmen in Zamboanga Sibugay province’s Kabasalan township, Senior Inspector Leo Castillo said.

The gunmen also took 20,000 pesos ($455) from the store’s cash register.

Castillo, the provincial police spokesman, said officers in pursuit found the kidnappers’ vehicle burning in a village about two kilometers (1.25 miles) away.

Mayor George Cainglet said Abu Sayyaf militants who kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell in 2011 may have been involved. He said no ransom demand had been made. With a report from Matikas Santos

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Chinese teenager kidnapped in Zamboanga Sibugay by APSeptember 12, 2014 Share this:


IMAGE COURTESY OF PHILSTAR:Satellite image from Google Maps shows Kabasalan town in Zamboanga Sibugay.

A Chinese teenager who managed a family-run store has been kidnapped by four gunmen in a southern Philippine province where militants kidnapped an Australian three years ago, the police said.

The unidentified gunmen seized 18-year-old Li Peizhi late Thursday in Zamboanga Sibugay province’s Kabasalan township, said Senior Inspector Leo Castillo. The gunmen also took 20,000 pesos ($455) from the store’s cash register.

Castillo, the provincial police spokesman, said officers in pursuit found the kidnappers’ vehicle burning in a village about two kilometers (1.25 miles) away.

Mayor George Cainglet said Abu Sayyaf militants who kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell in 2011 may have been involved. Rodwell was released 15 months later after his family paid a ransom.

Cainglet, who convened the town’s crisis management committee, said no ransom demand had been made.

Castillo said local police backed by army soldiers have set up road blocks and launched coastal patrols.

The military says the Abu Sayyaf is holding about 10 hostages, including two Germans and two European birdwatchers.

Despite U.S.-backed military offensives that crippled the group, the Abu Sayyaf remains a threat and kidnappings have become a major fund-raising activity for the group.

MANILA STANDARD OPINION

A made-up crisis By Jojo Robles | Sep. 10, 2014 at 12:01am

Just to complete the picture of government’s incompetence and ineptitude, we seem to have walked right into a full-blown power crisis that none of our officials have foreseen. But instead of just apologizing for the problem, like he did with the traffic situation, President Noynoy Aquino apparently wants to use the power crisis for his own benefit.

Of course, it probably won’t be a real Aquino administration if it didn’t have problems with the overall power situation. But instead of just some Cory-era flashback involving not enough power to supply the needs of business and ordinary consumers, the current Aquino government has started to make sinister noises about how remedying the situation would require more emergency political power.

It’s ironic that when Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla took over the Department of Energy a couple of years back, he would always downplay warnings, mostly emanating from private sector power producers, that a serious power crisis was in the offing. These days, of course, with power plants breaking down on a regular basis, Petilla has changed his tune: he is now the foremost advocate of granting Aquino emergency powers to fix the power supply problem that didn’t exist before.

The thing is, everyone who went through the Cory years—and the early Ramos years right after— already knows what granting the President emergency powers to solve an energy crisis that didn’t exist in the beginning understands what this entails. Not only that, we already know how neglect and shortsightedness caused the rotating 12-hour “brownouts” that infested Cory’s Aquino’s term like coup-happy soldiers.

Because Cory did not want to continue the Marcos administration’s energy programs, power plants started to break down early in her term. And when they did, the “emergency” solution was the purchase and contracting of expensive power barges, which benefited only a few favored suppliers and did not at all solve the problem on a long-term basis.

It was left to Fidel Ramos, after he replaced Cory and using the vast powers of his office in emergency-like fashion, to enter into the take-or-pay deals that finally licked the problem of inadequate supply. However, because of the emergency nature of the Ramos solution (including waiving the requirement for bidding out new power plants and a lack of interest in protesting the onerous, aforementioned take-or-pay provisions, which basically mean that we pay for all energy generated, whether we use it or not), we have been left to suffer the regime of high power rates that still bedevil us today.

Yes, we’ve already been there and been done in by power supply emergencies and subsequent attempts to remedy them. But the current Aquino and his energy henchmen never mention these things, in the hope that we never remember, apparently.

Well, not all of us have forgotten. And if the solution to the new energy crisis—precipitated once again by incompetence and lack of foresight, but with a power-hungry twist—is to purchase exorbitant energy from the usual crony sources once again, then I do believe we’re being set up for the shock of our lives.

* The son is like the mother in their mutual disregard for planning for future power requirements. They are different because Cory was just clueless, while Noynoy wants to use his own manufactured power crisis for his personal and political gain.

* * *

A year ago, President Noynoy Aquino decided to play soldier boy in Zamboanga City, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of residents of a once-thriving locality in evacuation centers that are still their homes to this day. Future historians are certain to conclude that the war waged by Aquino on a handful of members of Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front—whose exit from the city after they had raised their flag in it was blocked by the armed forces—was totally unnecessary and caused so much avoidable suffering and damage.

Later events, specifically the disastrous arrival of Typhoon Yolanda in Samar and Leyte, may have relegated the Zamboanga siege into the background of the national consciousness. But the people of the war-ravaged city are not likely to forget how Aquino used the military equivalent of a sledgehammer to swat the fly that was Misuari and his men.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the siege, Malacanang Palace said that the people of Zamboanga have not been forgotten, even if they still live in the evacuation centers that have bred so much despair, sickness and death amongst the local population. The government, in another head-scratching moment, said that all the funds to rebuild the homes of the stricken Zamboanguenos have been released, even if the homes that it promised to build for them will be delivered to them in December at the earliest.

It’s easy for people in Manila and other places to forget what happened in far Zamboanga, as the old song says. But for those who suffered and continue to suffer the after-effects of Aquino’s unnecessary war, the wounds would probably never heal.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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