Lobregat welcomes signing of SRPI-Ecozone lease pact PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 January 2013 14:32

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday welcomed the signing of the 31-year lease agreement between the San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI) and the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority and Freeport for the establishment of a 100-Megawatt coal-fired power plant costing P12 billion in San Ramon, Baranagy Talisayan, west of this city.

“This is a milestone and a historic day not only for the Ecozone or for the SRPI, but also for the city and the people of Zamboanga,” Lobregat said, stressing that the coal-fired power plant will solve the power shortage that the city has been experiencing.

He said the lease agreement was a result of long and protracted negotiations between the parties involved, including the city government to make sure that all the conditions were in place and all other concerns were addressed and ptotected, especially the interests of the city and its people.

The chief executive stressed that all options for the sources of power had been considered to solve the power shortage in the city, one of which was hydro. “The problem with hydro, the most that the city’s water resources combined can only produce between 2 and 3 megawatts, which is way below the city’s peak load of 85-mw,” he explained.

On the wind power like the one in Ilocos, however, Lobregat lamented that the city is outside the wind pattern per study conducted by the Department of Energy, therefore wind power is not feasible for Zamboanga.

“The solar energy, on the other hand, is not a based power plant because there will only be electricity during day time. It is costly and there is no effective and efficient technology on storing energy from the sun as of yet. Therefore, solar energy is out of the option,” the mayor said, adding that nuclear power plant is out of the options because it is not allowed in the country, while geothermal energy is not available in the city.

“After all sources of energy had been considered and studied,” Lobregat said, “bunker fuel and coal-fired power plants are the most feasible and practical solutions to the energy crisis, without disregarding the environmental concerns.”

He recalled a visit of city officials to the coal-fired power plant in Cagayan and they found out that there was no environmental hazard.

“At first we thought that plant was closed down because we did not see black smoke billowing from the chimney. When we get inside the plant, only then we knew it was operational and it does not pollute the environment,” Lobregat said.

According to Lobregat, yesterday’s signing of the lease agreement between the SRPI and Ecozone signaled a new era of progress and development in Zamboanga, which the late Mayor Maria Clara L. Lobregat would have been very proud if she were alive today.

The late mayor was the mother of the Zamboanga Ecozone for sponsoring the bill later known as RA 7903, creating the ecozone during her incumbency as the city’s lone district representative.

Signing the lease agreement were SRPI Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of the Alcantara Group of Companies Tirso G. Santillan Jr., Ecozone Chairwoman Georgina P. Yu and members of the Ecozone Board that included Lobregat as city mayor.

The SRPI’s coal-fired power plant occupies a 30-hectare property for the industrial area and 3.7-hectare for port area. Construction of the plant will begin in September this years and it is expected to be completed and operational by the third quarter of 2016.

“By then, power shortages and outages will be a thing of the past in Zamboanga,” Santillian said.

Under the 31-year lease agreement, the SRPI will pay the Zamboanga Ecozone the amount of P7.2 million in rental fees for the first three years of operation and while the plant is under construction, P14 million on the 4th year, P22 million on the 5th year and P105 million until the 31st year of operation.

The plant is also expected to generate new employment opportunities as it will be hiring at least 180 employees and over a thousand during the construction period.

After the ceremonial signing of the lease agreement, Lobregat together with the SRPI and Ecozone officials led in the groundbreaking ceremony at the plant site.

Present were District 2 Rep. Erbie Fabian, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Nonong Guingona, Rey Candido, Mike Alavar, Abdurahman Nuño, Noning Biel, Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar, Rudy Lim, VP Elago and Eddie Saavedra.

Other guests included Jomar Lobregat, Kit Barredo, BG Guingona, Charlie Mariano, Elong Natividad, Art Onrubia, Nards Sampang, Violy Alejandro, Tito Espiritusanto,

Bong Atilano together with representatives from the business and industrial groups, and officials from nearby barangays. — Vic Larato