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Several Quezon govt personnel on a study tour

by JOHN BELLO

A chief machine operator points to a turbine in the Micro Hydro Power Plant in Bgy. Capintalan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija. (JOHN BELLO)

San Luis Mayor Mariano Tangson (in long sleeve white dress) and  Fr. Warren Puno (in black) talked about some of the details in the operation of the San Luis Mini Hydro Electric Power Plant in Bgy. Ditumabo, San Luis, Aurora. (JOHN BELLO)
BALER, AURORA - Various local government personnel from the different municipalities of Quezon province went on a 2-day study tour and learning experience last Monday and Tuesday to learn about biodiversity and wildlife management and especially about renewable energy.

The event, dubbed as ‘Knowledge networking, and learning exchange on renewable energy, biodiversity and wildlife management’ was spearheaded by Tanggol Kalikasan (TK), a public interest environmental law organization, which is backstopped by the United Nations Democracy Fund and aims to create community awareness and action for renewable energy in the country.

The participants - composed of representatives from various offices of municipal environment and natural resources, agriculture and disaster rescue and management from some 20 municipalities of Quezon like Lucban, Mauban, Real, Infanta, San Antonio, Dolores, Sariaya, Tiaong, Pagbilao, Atimonan among others, and from the city governments of Tayabas and Lucena – underwent a lecture and forum on renewable energy, biodiversity and wildlife management led by engineer Roberto Verzola of the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology which discussed about renewable energy and lawyer Maria Generosa Mislang, TK executive director, which tackled various laws on biodiversity, Wildlife Act and the Renewable Energy Act.

Fr. Warren Puno of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Atimonan, Quezon started the program on the first day with a prayer at the Function Hall of La Patricia Hotel and Restaurant here where the participants are billeted; and Estacio Lim, Jr., project manager of TK CCARE project, helped oversee the overall program activity.

Verzola talked about the status of the electricity sector situation in the country and cited the baseload power plants which are usually coal-fired power plants which emit greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants. He said that baseload plants do not have a flexible output, have marginal cost which is higher than solar and wind power plants and whose role will become less important in the future.

Julieta Borlon-Aparicio, TK area coordinator, made the opening salvo on the first day of the program by saying that the whole country is endowed with rich natural resources in wind, waves and sunlight to be tapped for clean and renewable energy.

“We are gathered here for a journey of education and learning, to use technology and not to ruin our environment, so let’s build network and learn from experience,” said Borlon-Aparicio who added that this is the first TK project activity on renewable energy.

San Luis Mayor Mariano Tangson talked about the 400-kilowatt San Luis Mini-Hydro Electric Power Plant located 2 kms. from the national highway in Bgy. Ditumabo and the hardships and delays he experienced from government bureaucracy before the power project went in operation in 2009.

Among the problems he encountered were 6 months on the review of the power plant application with the Energy Regulatory Commission, the 7 months delayed action for the review of the project application on permit to operate, the change in design, equipment and the additional fund needed for the power upgrade from 500kw which cost around P56 million to 1.2 megawatts which cost P80 million.

The P80 million hydro power project was made possible through a loan from Land Bank of the Philippines in partnership with the Czech Republic.

The mayor accompanied all the Quezon participants to the power house which contained the turbines, the generator and the control system while several of the participants went to the waterfalls which is the source of the electric power generated and distributed by a local electric cooperative to several hundreds of households in San Luis town.

The following day on Tuesday, the participants travelled some 5 hours from Baler to Carranglan town in the neighbouring province of Nueva Ecija. Mayor Mary Abad and some of her municipal councilors and barangay officials welcomed them at the barangay hall in Bgy. Capintalan.

Michael Valenzuela, municipal administrator of Carranglan, briefed the Quezon delegation saying that their Micro Hydro Power Plant was conceptualized by the Phil. Rural Reconstruction Movement and realized thru the help of the British Embassy. The project was completed in 2003 and has a 160 kilowatts capacity benefitting some 106 households.

He said the beneficiaries only pay a miminum of P100 to P150 a month, with some of them paying P10 for every house appliances used like electric fan, refrigerator and washing machine.

Abad accompanied her Quezon guests to their Micro-Hydro Power Plant and some of them even rode the 300 meters tramline to reach the plant site.



Borlon-Aparicio said that TK plans to invest 5 renewable energy projects for 5 different municipalities in Quezon province which will be provided with start-up fund for the project.

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