President Aquino Speech on the Inauguration of the new Coal-fired Power Plant in Iloilo City

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DURING THE INAUGURATION OF THE NEW Coal-fired power plant of the Panay energy development corporation (PEDC)
Multi-Purpose Hall, Brgy. Ingore
La Paz, Iloilo City, Iloilo
April 01, 2011

(applause) Maraming salamat ho. Maupo ho tayo lahat.

Talaga naman po yung ating mga leaders sa Panay Island na ating mga kaibigang Ilonggo puro short and sweet ang talumpati. Thank you very much.

Dr. George S.K. Ty; Senator Frank Drilon; Governor Art Defensor; Congressmen Jerry TreƱas and of course Junjun Tupas; Mayor Jed Mabilog; Mr. Francisco Sebastian; other officials and staff of the Panay Energy Development Corporation; the Metrobank Group of Companies and Global Business Power Corporation; my partner, Mar Roxas; Mr. Alfred Ty; Mr. Tony Abacan; fellow workers in government; honored guests; mga minamahal ko pong kababayan:  Maayong aga sa tanan, tama ho ba? (applause)

Having a reliable energy source is a foundation of progress. The lack of access to energy has always been a major drawback to economic and social development. Without energy, government cannot deliver the most basic of its services -- clean water, health, shelter, and education.

Today, as we switch-on this power plant, we are also switching on our capability to empower our countrymen.

On behalf of the Filipino people, I am grateful to the Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC). Investing in a new coal-fired power plant shows not just your confidence in our country, but also your support in our initiatives to push for more energy sources. The key to success in any venture is efficient cooperation, and seeing all of you here reassures us that the government and the private sector have a mutual interest in pursuing sustainable energy access within the country.

Sa PEDC: Madamo nga salamat sa pagtuytoy sa aton mga kauturan pagkadto sa tadlong nga dalan sang pagbag-o. (applause) Kung tama po yun si Junjun Tupas ang nagturo po sa akin. Kung mali po yun kasalanan ko lang. (laughter)

There was a time when Panayanons had their lives constantly disturbed by rotating daily brownouts. The opening of the 164-megawatt coal-fired powered plant of the PEDC ensures that that time is over. This heralds a new era of electric generation in Panay as it is deemed to turn what was once a mark of inefficiency to a sign of industry; what was once darkness into light. Moreover, putting up this power plant in Iloilo City is also a great boost to the entire Visayas grid, providing reliable, secure, and reasonable-priced electricity.

Indeed, this newfound security in energy will eventually spur both investments and tourism, thus, uplifting the economic stature of the localities. In fact, allow me to share some good news with you. This year alone, we are going to see the opening of twenty-three new hotels in the Visayas region, giving our visitors almost a 1,200 additional rooms to choose from.

A week ago, I also went to the groundbreaking ceremony of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which will be one of the most prominent buildings in Metro Manila, with 400 rooms available for guests. Another project of Dr. George S.K. Ty, (applause) who seems to grow younger each time I see him. (laughter/applause) And I’m sure we can count on to support our thrust in governance.

Just yesterday, I visited Batangas to witness the loading of refinery modules of Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Company of Manila to be sent to British Petroleum’s facility in Indiana in the United States of America. In the next seven years, AG&P has lined up projects with foreign partners amounting to around 10 billion dollars.

All these businesses are based on the premise that they will have access to power. And today’s ceremony serves as an assurance that they will have power.

Ano po ba ang dulot nito sa ating mga mamamayan? Hindi lamang ang mga negosyante ang makikinabang sa mga ito. Nabibigyan din natin ng libu-libong trabaho at kabuhayan ang mga kababayan natin, mula sa mga inhinyero at mason na nagtayo ng mga gusali, ang mga hotel and restaurant  workers, ang mga cook at waiter sa mga restaurant, ang mga drivers na maghahatid sa mga bisita, pati na rin po ‘yung nagtitinda ng kendi sa bangketa. Bawat hakbang po natin nakatutok po sa pagbibigay lakas sa mga Pilipino, at tinitiyak ko pong todo-arangkada tayo sa pagbagtas natin dito.

This is both a good sign and a challenge. With this power plant in place, the next step forward is to augment the projected power requirement in the whole Visayas grid with new and appropriate energy technologies. We should also start exploring and harnessing the potential of renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro power, among others, that are abundant in your area.

To all our partners in the energy sector:  rest assured, the trust and confidence you have shown us will not be misplaced. Instead, we will use this confidence to build even stronger foundations to further enhance our energy sector.

For many years to come, may this coal-fired power plant generate energy. Energy that brings light to our people’s homes, and energy that gives our people the momentum to pursue our shared aspirations as one nation.

Let us keep the spirit of change burning, as it fuels our collective efforts to restore our national dignity. This ceremony has flicked the switch of optimism in all of us, and we must learn to look back on this optimism when the challenges come. This spark of inspiration must lead to dedication and commitment in fulfilling our individual roles. If we can do this, and allow ourselves to be guided by the daylight that has dawned in this country, then we will prevail.

We will rebuild this country and leave the next generations with a better and brighter Philippines.

Bago po ako magtapos, siyempre kailangan ko naman ho batiin si Zenaida Ducut ang ating ERC Chair. (applause) Siya po ang namamahala na ngayon sa napaka kritikal sa ating energy sector na umabot na po yung sampung taon nung EPIRA na kami po ang nagpasa nung kami’y parehong kongresista. Marami hong kailangan ayusin dyan sa batas na yan at kasama natin, katulong natin ang ERC sa mga pagbabalangkas ng mga amendments na yan.

At dito po babalik na naman ako sa tinuro po sa akin ni Junjun Tupas:  Puede na liwat maghandum. Kari na kamo maglakat sa dalan pakadto sa matuod-tuod na pag bag-o.

Madamo gid nga salamat. (applause)