Occidental Mindoro

Production costs double for Occidental Mindoro fisherfolk due to brownouts

Dwight de Leon

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Production costs double for Occidental Mindoro fisherfolk due to brownouts

PRESERVING FISH. A private fishing port in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro imports ice from Metro Manila because power outages in the province have resulted in insufficient local ice supply.

Dwight de Leon/Rappler

Struggling to find ice that would keep their catch fresh, fishermen in Occidental Mindoro resort to importing ice from Metro Manila

OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, Philippines – Fishermen in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro are not spared from the impact of the power crisis that has worsened in recent weeks.

With brownouts that last up to 20 hours across the entire province every day, ice plants which now operate on generator sets are unable to keep up with demand, causing headaches to fisherfolk who need ice to preserve their daily catch.

Private fish port manager Jonathan Barlocha said that to maintain their operations, they import ice from Metro Manila.

“Ice plants here in the province sell their ice for P300 to P350 per block. Because we now get ice from Manila, our costs go up to P550 to P600 per block,” he told Rappler on Tuesday, April 18.

Not only that, their operations slow down due to the longer waiting time for available ice.

“Boats here have been docked for a longer time, up to 5 days,” he said. “Last year, the situation was better. Boats were able to get sufficient ice only after one to two days.”

Sixty-nine-year-old ice port owner Lemuel Sanggo echoed Barlocha’s story, saying that fishermen are bearing the brunt of the brownouts.

“Fishermen who buy from us are only on standby due to the lack of ice,” he said. “We are unable to sell them ice due to the lack of production.”

Arnold Pamilar, manager of the ice plant that Sanggo owns, said that sometimes, they are left with no choice but to offer ice blocks that have holes.

Iyong produce pa ng yelo ay kulang, hills, di naman masyado maluto yung yelo, kaya nagtitiyaga kami sa yelo na butas na siya, hindi na buo, dahil kailangan ang yelo dito,” he said.

(Our ice production is insufficient, and yields less-desirable results. The ice blocks end up having holes.)

They hope that the gravity of the situation would alarm national officials.

“I hope they [the national government] would act on the power issue in Occidental Mindoro, so that businesses here don’t have to operate at a loss,” Barlocha said.

Rotational brownouts in Occidental Mindoro last up to 20 hours per day, inconveniencing a province of more than 500,000 people.

The province’s lone power supplier has said it cannot buy sufficient fuel to operate at a higher capacity due to delayed subsidy payments from the National Power Corporation. – Rappler.com

Occidental Mindoro placed under state of calamity due to power crisis

Occidental Mindoro placed under state of calamity due to power crisis

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.