ROUGH CUTS| Development has its tradeoffs

SOME sectors in the electric distribution industry in Mindanao are wary of the possibility that the cost of power in the island could spike to as much as P32 per kilowatt hour once the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market or WESM is implemented here. We believe they have reasons to entertain such apprehension.

Personally, however, we do not think so. After all it is not the intention of government to allow the creation of WESM. The primary purpose is to ensure that large consumers can have the option to ensure that power will be available to them when situation so demands more so during times of serious power outages even if acquiring such privilege may cost them bigger power bills.

So, we believe that in times like the present where power generation is more than sufficient, the large consumers, electric distribution utilities included, would not opt to buy power under the WESM system. They’d get electricity from regular suppliers they might have earlier sourced their power to run their machineries and equipment.

Of course we could not blame the power distributors like electric cooperatives, if they entertain notions of a much higher power cost under the WESM.

History can attest to the fact that manipulating production of power to create artificial shortage has been an experience in the country. And the generators know exactly that as soon as large consumers feel the first sign of power shortage they are lightning quick to execute deals with producers to get continuing supply of power to sustain their operation.

Hence, power utilities whose officials are less pro-active could indeed get the adverse impact of diminishing power supply if they choose to be lenient and reactive.


Very soon the Catalunan Grande road leading to Mintal, or possibly to Tacunan will be converted into a  four-lane highway.

This is a very welcome news for people residing in the barangay as well as those private and public utility vehicle operators plying the route going to Calinan and back to the city proper.

However, this forthcoming development is also fast becoming like the proverbial “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of residents and businessmen whose houses and establishments are within the right of way of the road expansion.

Specifically, the most affected are houses and establishments built along the Catalunan Grande Road starting from the junction of C.P. Garcia Diversion highway up to Elenita Heights. Perhaps the worst would be the destruction of more than half of the houses built on the roadside portion of SGR Village and its adjacent subdivision the South Villa. The house extensions are so close to the road that any additional 3-meter lane on both sides need an actual five to 6 meters to accommodate the one-meter easement, another one meter provision for drainage system and possibly another meter  for utility facilities (power, water and communications).

We have the opportunity to talk to some home and business establishment owners and we can only commisserate with their upcoming plight.  For example, a grocery store which is part of a famous chain in Davao City and Palawan is reported to be cutting short its rent contract with the owner of the building it is presently occupying. The reason is that once the road expansion is started the store’s front area will totally be destroyed because the width of the expansion will eat the spaceup to the building’s wall. Another unit of the same store chain located a kilometer up the same road will also be eaten up by the expansion project.

One homeowner told us he has to go to the Departmernt of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office XI to inquire how wide exactly is the expansion on the side where his house is located. He saids he needs to know the exact width so he can compute how many square meters of his property will be eaten up by the project.  He wants to make sure that he will have charged the government the fair value of his property.

We supposed that all other property owners that will be affected by the widening project are thinking the same. Imagine losing a substantial area plus the cost of building or house extension!

Frankly, while this project is generally welcome, there are those who might have wished it should not happen at all. But then, again, development will always have its trade-off. So, if Catalunan Grande has to level up in its physical set-up which in the long term will benefit its residents, then that trade-off must be willingly accepted.

We believe though that the homeowners should be given their rightful due. They should not be shiortchanged.


Posted in Opinion