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Tuesday, 25 August 2015 13:38

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Diego, CA. — I had in mind having a wonderful “day-off” with my family at Harrah’s Rincon resort and casino and spend the weekend listening to mind-soothing jazz music and the vibrating piano wars at the bar while sipping my cold, throat-quenching pink lemonade. But this politically-driven blackouts that has put many people at odds, nearing boiling proportion, forces me to skip a breathtaking evening and write about both sides of the hot issue in the hope of making the consumers the judges on who’s right and who’s terribly mistaken and ill-advised.

This piece today is for the slow-minded who can’t, or refuses to, understand simple deductions because of politics and selective wisdom, if there’s any at all. Ill run this rerun for clarity, with a little twist.

Event: Very recently, Mayor Ma. Isabel G. Climaco-Salazar called for the cancellation of the power sales agreement (PSA) between our Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) and the San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI). She said that Zamcelco should not deal with only one power provider to resolve our lack of power supply. She added that to date SRPI has not constructed, or has started to construct, it’s power plant within the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority and Freeport (Zamboecozone) although the PSA has already been approved by the Energy Electrification Commission (ERC).

Fact: Abrogating, canceling or rescinding the PSA will not solve the energy woes of Zamboanga. It will worsen the situation in the long run. As gleaned from the point of view of commitment, SRPI is the only power provider “genuinely and seriously” interested in fixing Zamboanga’s power dilemma. Furthermore, Zamcelco has dealt with other power producers lately by signing for some megawatts with TSI. Mapalad Power Corporation and the Western Mindanao Power Corporation will also supply additional power to Zamcelco before the of the year that will, hence, temporarily free Zamboanga from sectional blackouts.

Assertion: Why has SRPI not paid its lease with the Zamboecozone this year?

Fact: As I started to make some inquiries, I found out that it is not the fault of SRPI why it refuses to pay rental this year. While paying a whooping P10 million representing rental last year - making SRPI the biggest single investor in this 20-year old Zamboecozone — SRPI ceased payment of rental this year because Zamboecozone HAS FAILED TO CONFIRM IN WRITING THAT THE LAND ON WHICH THE PLANT WILL RISE HAS BEEN CONVERTED FOR INDUSTRIAL USE.

More so, and the mayor should know this because she is an ex-oficio member of the Zamboecozone board — ZAMBOECOZONE  HAS FAILED TO GIVE SRPI THE CORRECT AND VALID COORDINATES DEFINING THE BOUNDARIES OF THE ZAMBOECOZONE.

An official of SRPI said that the current technical description of the ZAMBOECOZONE is indeterminate due to an error/mistake in the (land) coordinates.

Mas simple: Without the correct coordinates, how can SRPI determine where to built its power plant? CLARO BA?

Isn’t SRPI, the biggest investor thus far in the ZAMBOECOZONE — a government-owned and controlled corporation still reeling from subsidies — entitled to seek an explanation from the ZAMBOECOZONE whose officials as published on-line travel abroad looking for investors (that won’t come to Zamboanga unless the city government fixes our law and order problems) instead of firming up what it already has? TA ENTENDE YA USTEDES?

Congressman Celso L. Lobregat knows that facts too well because he has embraced the ZAMBOECOZONE as his adopted baby. It was his mother who authored the bill that created this GREAT ECONOMIC PROMISE. That’s why he is not making any irresponsible statements. His comprehension and understanding of the Zamcelco-SRPI-Zamboecozone tie-up is, as one observer said, “laser sharp.”

Still, there are comments that Alsons Power Group does not have capital to build a power plant in Zamboanga city.

Fact: Alsons is the most experienced independent power producer in Mindanao, operating since 1993, and has an output of 280 megawatts.

It is on schedule in building a 210-megawatt baseload power plant costing  US$570 million, or roughly P25 billion, in Sarangani province. The plant will be operational by the first quarter of 2016. READ THRU: If Zamcelco had been financially viable as the electric cooperative in Sarangani province, the same thing could have happened to Zamboanga city.

Alsons has more than enough money allocated to its SRPI project. Just for information, Alsons has already spent over $5.7 million in development

costs for the Zamboanga project since 2010, according to available data.

At P12 billion, SRPI, Ill say it again, is the single, largest infrastructure investment in Zamboanga that will create jobs, a lot of it. Please, pray tell me, councillors from the first congressional district: won’t you fight to give employment to your constituents?

Seriously, does the city government want this investment to disappear?