MANILA, Philippines – It took a scolding from President Benigno Aquino III for the Cabinet to get things going.
More than a year since Typhoon Pablo cut off power supply in areas in Mindanao, the energy secretary reportedly vowed to restore it in 45 days.
Malacañang said on Wednesday, February 26, that Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla “assured the full restoration of electricity in all Pablo-affected areas within 45 days.”
Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte added: “He will be submitting a plan, a memo to the President, containing the details of his action plan. So no more passing, no more anything else, DOE is on point.”
Aquino first found out that 57% of affected barangays were still without electricity from Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon on Monday, February 24, when he visited the town of Cateel. That same day, Aquino demanded an explanation from responsible Cabinet members.
“I called because I was surprised. Why are there still places here where energy has not yet been restored? Their response to me is that there’s a pending request by NEA (National Electrification . The DBM (Department of Budget) said they don’t have the request,” he explained to the crowd made up of government officials, government employees, local officials and calamity victims.
The next day on Tuesday, Aquino told reporters he made it clear to his Cabinet he wanted the problem fixed.
“I’ve asked the concerned departments to explain their faults: why is it this way over a year later? Why has power not been restored? This is bureaucracy. They were pointing fingers, they passed on responsibilities,” he said.
“I made the agencies feel I am not happy with them. By the next time I follow up with them, there needs to be electricity in most areas or they’ll need to submit their resignations. Those are just two things. I’m easy to talk to. We all have work, so do your work or sorry.”
Watch this report below.
Earlier, Petilla promised to restore electricity in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda by Christmas or he would resign. He missed his target by a several hours, but Aquino praised him for a good job and refused to accept his resignation.
But on Tuesday, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the 100% restoration of electricity in Yolanda-hit areas the government lauded was not true. He estimated that about 50% are still without power in Tacloban alone until now.
When asked if Petilla would lose his post if he is unable to restore power in Pablo-affected areas in 45 days as promised, Valte said no one doubts the statements the President made on Tuesday. She gave assurances however that Petilla still enjoys the trust of the chief executive. – Rappler.com