Press Release
March 4, 2010

Gov't needs to invest more in power, infrastructure in Mindanao - Loren

The government needs to invest in infrastructure and new sources of power in the Caraga region to allow the people to tap its rich resources, NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda said on Wednesday during a break in her Mindanao campaign.

"Caraga is one of the poorest but also one of the wealthiest in terms of resources," Legarda, who aims to be a "green VP," said. "Mindanao has a lot of potential. All you need to do is provide them with basic needs to start with = infrastructure. And there is a need for government to invest in power plants especially in Caraga region."

Northeastern Mindanao, which includes the Caraga provinces, depends on the Agus River and Maria Cristina Falls for water and hydroelectric power, Legarda noted.

And yet the Arroyo administration has made no investments in power for the last 10 years, including this year, despite a huge P1.5 trillion national bugdet.

She vowed that she and running mate Manny Villar will focus on the full implementation of the Renewable Energy Law, whose main proponents were Senators Edgardo Angara and Juan Miguel Zubiri and Rep. Luis Villafuerte.

"The President signed that into law in 2008. That law is aimed at making the country 60-percent sufficient in energy by this year," she said. "But it's already 2010 and what do we have? A power crisis all over the country."

"We cannot speak of development if we do not have power," Legarda added. "We cannot speak of eradicating poverty if we cannot even provide power. How will offices, schools, and stores operate properly if there are five- to eight-hour brownouts? It is intolerable for a government not to address the basic needs of the people."

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