Press Release
March 17, 2010

Aquino: Arroyo failed to prevent Mindanao energy crisis

Leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III slammed the Arroyo administration on Tuesday for failing to prevent the energy crisis in Mindanao even though the government already knew about it 10 years ago.

"There are 11-hour brownouts in Mindanao. We were there last week, and we experienced six-hour brownouts. What's worse is that we have already anticipated this problem 10 years ago. The current administration did not act on it," Aquino said in an interview aired on DWJS Radyo Natin.

Aquino, the Liberal Party standard bearer, said, if elected, he would encourage investments in the Mindanao energy sector to tap more diverse sources of power and find a long-term solution to the energy crisis in the island.

Aquino said that increasing investment in Mindanao is key to achieving lasting peace in the island.

"ARMM has the lowest scores in social indices such as infant mortality rate and school aptitude. Many Mindanaoans do not have opportunities for better lives, that's why they opt to go to the mountains and lead hard lives as bandits," he said.

"We need to generate investments as a way of jump-starting economic activities and providing employment opportunities to keep these people within the folds of society instead of letting them have a reason to resort to banditry," Aquino added.

Aquino stressed, however, that sustainable economic growth and lasting peace in Mindanao cannot be achieved if corruption is not eliminated. Diverted resources due to large-scale corruption deprive the poor of their basic needs, thereby worsening their condition.

"Government must aid and empower its citizenry. How can the current administration do that if it has lost P280 billion in one year to corruption?" he said.

Aquino said his administration will accomplish an audit of all the programs of the local government units in Mindanao to "ensure the funds are being spent for the right programs."

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