House leader calls for power resiliency, security master plans

House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera on Thursday called for the crafting of national, regional, island group, and provincial master plans to ensure the power sector’s disaster resiliency against typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Herrera said the master plans should include options for underground electricity transmission and distribution lines, and telecoms cables, as well as scalable power generation for remote islands, coastal towns, highland communities, microgrids, and critical facilities, such as hospitals, telecoms, and schools.

“Lagi na lang may massive blackouts dahil sa bagyo, lindol, at iba pang kalamidad. Disaster adaptation at mitigation na dapat ang mabisang solusyon natin, maliban sa emergency repairs (There are always massive blackouts because of typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural calamities. Disaster adaptation and mitigation should be our solution, apart from emergency repairs),” she said.

Herrera said multi-year, phased-in programs are the doable and sustainable ways to undertake such massive investments in energy security.

Funding can be sourced from bonds issued to international, local, and retail investors, she said.

“Offhand, I estimate a baseline funding of at least PHP25 billion per year for 15 to 20 years. Phased implementation could include prioritization of areas storms often hit,” she said.

Herrera added that localized phase-in would prioritize downtown areas, commercial business districts, and contiguous zones with government offices and hospitals.

Meanwhile, she said mid- and later phases would include zones around these priority areas.

“Technical and feasibility studies could be started in the coming months. Initial funding could come from foreign aid technical grants,” she said.

Typhoon Odette caused widespread devastation and damage to houses, infrastructure, properties, and agriculture, and resulted in the disruption of critical lifelines of Filipinos in areas affected by the storm.

The death toll from the typhoon rose to 258, with 568 injured and 47 missing, the latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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