A consumer advocacy organization wants government to guarantee the stability of the electricity supply in Mindanao given the resumption of international flights to and from Davao City, which is expected to significantly strengthen the local economy.
Ryan Amper, convenor of the Davao Consumer Movement, emphasized the need for a stable power supply, citing instances where businesses had to resort to generator sets to address power interruptions.
Davao del Norte is recognized as an attractive investment destination but, Amper warned, businesses may not thrive sans a stable power supply.
“The operations of these new air routes will certainly open new opportunities for Dabawenyos. We can expect more investments and tourists to come and see the beauty and opportunities in Davao Region,” he said.
However, Amper pointed out that these opportunities will not meet their full potential if the region continues to experience poor power service.
“Davao del Norte is one of the major economic centers in the region. However, while Panabo City enjoys a stable power supply and quality power service, Tagum City and the Island Garden City of Samal [suffer from] high power rates and poor power service in general,” the advocate said.
“Yes, the opportunities that are presented to us through these new connections are very exciting, but our current power situation will hold them back,” Amper added.
Only on paper
LEGISLATORS have taken notice of the challenges faced by the region. House Bill (HB) 6740, filed by Rep. Margarita B. Nograles, seeks to resolve power issues in Davao by terminating the franchise of the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco), potentially allowing a new player to step in. Other legislators, including Rep. Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos, have also filed similar bills.
Senators Bong Go, Raffy Tulfo and Sherwin T. Gatchalian have urged the Nordeco to improve its services, warning of potential investigations or franchise revocation.
The Nordeco earlier stated it saw an uptick in businesses requiring power connections. However, Amper said this is simply on paper and does not reflect the true experience of local businesses in the area they serve.
“Some of these businesses have to acquire generator sets just to address the problem of regular power outages. A resort in Samal Island has to operate mostly on mobile generators due to regular power outages. Imagine having to pay high gasoline prices and high power rates just to run a business here in Davao del Norte,” he added.
MEANWHILE, the Davao-Jinjiang and Davao-Hong Kong direct flights resumed on October 29 as Xiamen Air Flight MF8695 landed at the Davao International Airport.
Royal Air, which is based at Clark International Airport, will be operating the Davao-Hong Kong flights while Xiamen Air will resume its operations of the Davao-Jinjiang flights.
Prior to the resumption of these flights, Davao’s international connections since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions were only Singapore and Doha, Qatar. The Davao-Singapore flights are operated by Singapore Airlines while the Davao-Doha flights are served by Qatar Airways.
According to the City Tourism Office in Davao, Chinese tourists surged from 10,827 to 14,934 in 2018 to 2019. A 37.93-percent increase in just a year makes China Davao’s second biggest market. These numbers will surely improve as Davao City is actively promoting to Chinese investors the bright business climate and opportunities offered by the city.