Showing posts with label #Earthday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Earthday. Show all posts

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tagbilaran hit by floods; power outage in Bohol

Thursday had two unforgettable events.

First, after two hours of rain, several areas in this city were flooded on Thursday.

The heavy rain started around 10:30 a.m., triggering knee-deep flood on H. Grupo Street.

Heavy rains also turned Lamdagan Street into a virtual river where people were forced to wade in knee-deep floodwaters.

The heavy rain also flooded some schools. In Cogon Elementary School, the school children were forced to walk in floodwater as some of them went home for lunch.

Boy Reyes, 46, carried his son, a Grade 1 pupil, on his shoulder.

Students wade through floodwaters after 
heavy rains that hit Bohol on Thursday. Leo Udtohan
The heavy rains also left office workers stranded.

Flights were also delayed and diverted due to poor visibility at the Tagbilaran Airport because of the downpour.

A source at the Tagbilaran Airport said that a Philippine Airlines flight diverted to Mactan Cebu International Airport after two attempts to land at the Tagbilaran airport around 10 a.m. on Thursday due to zero visibility.

Four hours after the heavy downpour, a sudden blackout occurred. The strong earthquake that hit Leyte province caused a power transmission system to trip off and damaged power sources.

Bohol sources its power from Leyte since the province has no power source of its own.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had not given a statement on when power would resume although sources said the blackout could last three to four days.

“Power interruption will prolong as full assessment of transmission facilities is still to be completed,” said Betty Martinez, NGCP-Visayas spokesperson.

Around 261,000 households in the province had without electricity.

Michelle Barimbao, 28, had to buy kerosene at a gasoline station in the city since the sari-sari stores had run out of supply after the blackout gripped the province following Thursday’s earthquake.

Kerosene is commonly used for cooking and other energy needs.

However, the product has been scarce in Tagbilaran since many gas stations run out of supply since Thursday night.

Barimbao was told that Florencio Gasoline Station CPG East Avenue corner J.A. Clarin Street sold kerosene for P42.50 per liter.

Residents lined up at the gas station until midnight.

Most of the Boholanos had dinner by candlelight
 or kerosene lamp on Thursday night. Leo Udtohan
Barimbao and other residents had dinner by candlelight or kerosene lamp.

She said that after eating dinner, they just went to sleep because there was nothing much to do with no electricity.

Some business establishments with no generator sets in the capital Tagbilaran City were closed.

Barimbao said the blackout reminded her of the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (International Name: Haiyan) on Nov. 8, 2013 that hit the province three weeks after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook Bohol and killed at least 200 people.

Yolanda affected the geothermal power plant in Leyte which caused the brownouts that lasted for more than a month.

Power had not resumed in Bohol as well as in Leyte, Southern Leyte and on Samar Island after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocked Leyte at 4:03 p.m. on Thursday.

The quake caused a power transmission system to trip off and damaged power sources.

Based on NGCP’s advisory on Friday morning, tower along the 138-kV Ormoc-Togonan Line in Ormoc City, Leyte was found leaning following aerial and ground inspections.

NGCP has also mobilized six line gangs to temporarily restore the Ormoc-Togonan 138kV Line. Another line gang was sent to Kananga Switchyard, owned by Energy Development Corporation (EDC), to assist in restoration and to assess possible ways of extending power from the Tabango Substation to Ormoc Substation, the statement said.

NGCP’s Cebu-Leyte submarine cable, and its Tabango Substation in Leyte continue to transmit power to Leyte Electric Cooperative 5 that served the towns of Tabango, San Isidro, and Villaba.

“There is a complete loss of power in Bohol and Samar islands, and Southern Leyte. Due to supply deficiency caused by the outage of power plants located in Leyte, customers in Cebu, Negros, and Panay may also suffer occasional power interruptions,” said the NGCP advisory.

Since there was no power, several residents in Bohol also complained of no water supply. Many residents stormed malls, stores and water refilling stations to buy water.

People lined up in a gasoline station in 
Tagbilaran City until midnight to buy kerosone. 
Leo Udtohan

“We don’t have power. We don’t have water. Where will we turn to,” asked Anabelle Magoncia, 45, a resident of Ubujan District.

In its advisory, the Bohol Light advised consumers to conserve batteries and water.

“Power plants & NGCP Sub-station in Leyte are shut down and still on assessment period. Power restoration for Bohol may take long. Please take precautions to prevent fire, conserve water and remove plugs from outlets,” it said.

Many residents vented their frustration on social media.

“Almost four years since the Yolanda blackouts and yet it seems that we didn't learn something from it at all,” said Daisy Jane Sajulga-Galve on Facebook. “Having our own source of electricity should have been the number 1 priority of this province.”

Beryl Elizabeth Lupot, who works with a nongovernment organization in Tagbilaran, said there was a need for Bohol to have its own power source especially with its economic boom.

“Yes of course, we really need to have our own energy source, especially now that we have a new international airport and Bohol is progressing rapidly,” said Lupot.

“Bohol has it all except its own energy source,” she added.

Another resident Keith Joseph Sepe posted on Facebook that Bohol had experienced a long Earth Day.

“Bohol needs their own Power Plant ge (should be) prioritize(d) unta na! Dili ang (not the) International airport,” Sepe said. He used the hashtags #Justsaying!! #BoholBlackout #Earthday #EarthquakeLeyte #PrayForLeyte.

Willy Ramasola also posted on Facebook that the experience should make the local and national officials realize that Bohol should not be dependent on Leyte for its power source.

“Oh well. No need to learn past lessons as long as you make sure you win elections. And the people pay the painful price. Enjoy eating melted ice creams tonight, my fellow Boholanos,” said Ramasola.

On the worst case, repair and restoration of the transmission lines may not take longer than one week.

Bohol will be bracing for more dark nights.

Note: While power supply was restored in Tagbilaran City on Friday night as part of rationing system, environmental activist Jumjum Ouano shares his thoughts on coal-powered plant:

There is plan that Government of Bohol is eyeing on investing in Coal - Powered Plant just to supply electricity in the Province, with the recent events in Leyte and that the power blackout in the Province my fear is that most Boholanos will approved of this investment plan without considering hazards it will entail to the community and general public as a whole.

To my fellow Boholanos, I know it is difficult to not have electricity as it affects our daily lives and even our supply of water. It is not easy but let us not fall into a trap of giving a thumbs up to this kind of source of power, aside from it is not sustainable, how can we claim that we are a prime ECO-cultural and heritage tourism destination?

There are other means to get our supply of electricity by not resorting in Coal-powered plant. I am speaking about this because I myself opposes to the Ludo Coal Powered plant in Cebu, and the hell would I allow the same will be built in Bohol.

I am not speaking in the comfort that I can escape the recent situation there right now because in the longer run I would still be coming home to Bohol. Again hear me out, there are more better alternatives, the Government is not limited to it. It’s just that they are not posting the issue of electricity as a priority since they could have done something about it for example, Dams.

My fellow advocates for environmental protection, let us be vigilant and let us not sold our principles for a convenient solution as of the moment. Let us all consider the longer impact. Coal is Dirty!


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