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Of typhoons and the DAP

Of typhoons and the DAP
July 16, 2014 10:53 pm

The power went out shortly after I started writing this column early Wednesday morning. It is during these times that you appreciate battery packs and the foresight to charge electronic gadgets. It is also the time you discover the creaking and whistling that your house can produce as the winds of Typhoon Glenda blew through it like a musical instrument. At 4 in the morning, the rain outside and the glow of the monitor in one’s face can drive the imagination enough to scare oneself.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Power over electric power

The House of Representatives leadership signified a few days ago its willingness to give President Aquino emergency power under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). The EPIRA allows government under section 71 to acquire additional energy capacity and enter into contracts during crisis situations. This will be done through a joint resolution of both the House and the Senate under the law.

Bayan Muna representative NeriColmenares questioned the basis of the Department of Energy (DOE) for saying that there will be a power supply shortage as he pointed out that “there is no hard evidence that there would indeed be a power crisis next year.” He feared that the billions for such emergency procurement for additional power generation would be sourced from the controversial Malampaya funds on top of possible pass-on costs to consumers.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Gabay sa Pagtatalakay ng EPIRA


For several days already during the past two weeks, the stretch of Katipunan beside UP becomes filled with cars, trucks and jeepneys as early as seven in the morning. From social media posts, the traffic seems to stretch up to the end of C5 and the same thing is happening to other major thoroughfares like EDSA.

No one was spared and the slow crawl was aggravated by the onset of the Habagat. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the city mayors blamed the orders of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that relaxed the rules on bus routes and removed the truck ban.

While this may be true for this particular traffic event, the finger pointing should not end with the LTFRB alone. It really is a problem of the whole metropolis and the country as a whole.

Giovanni Tapang, PhD


Last Holy Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said in an interview that, “power rates will go up in Mindanao because the choice is a higher power rate or no power.” He announced this as the country enters the summer season and the whole island already faced with rotating brownouts every day.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla presented a plan to tap diesel-powered generators to augment the supply in the island as the government waits for coal-fired power plants to be operational around 2015. The diesel-powered plants were seen to be the fastest way to plug the energy gap but at the cost of a higher price for consumers. The president added that around 300 megawatts of power will come on-line in around two years from coal power plants.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Fast facts: Who owns Semirara?

Cai Ordinario

Semirara is owned by the 5th richest man in the Philippines, David Consunji. Based on the Forbes list of the 40 Richest Filipinos, Consunji's net worth reached $2.7 billion in 2012. Forbes said Consunji's net worth was borne from construction-related pursuits. Consunji and his 8 children operate DMCI Holdings Inc., the holding firm for all the business interests of the family.

DMCI Holdings was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange on December 18, 1995 as a holding firm. David Consunji remains chairman of the board of the company, while his son, Isidro, is President.

Electricity rates to rise starting March – ERC

Amy R. Remo
February 19, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Power consumers should brace for higher electricity rates, starting March as the Energy Regulatory Commission allowed the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. to collect over P53 billion worth of stranded contract costs.

This is equivalent to an increase of 19.38 centavos per kilowatt-hour, which will be collected under the universal charge for stranded contract costs (UC-SCC) component of one’s power bill.

Stranded contract costs are calculated every year as the difference between the contractual payment obligations and the revenue earned from the sale of the contracted energy for eligible, government-managed independent power producers (IPPs).

Science in 2011

The leading scientific journals usually have a yearend issue that summarizes the year that was in science.
ITALSScienceEND ITALS magazine has hailed the AIDS treatment therapy study HPTN 052 of Myron Cohen and collaborators as its “Breakthrough of the Year.” This clinical study showed lowered infection rates of HIV-1 (by a factor of 20) between partners using a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs. This treatment, described in a paper in the ITALSNew England Journal of MedicineEND ITALS, combined with other promising clinical trials, may be “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” as the World AIDS Day (December 1) event last year in George Washington University heralded.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Putting the brakes on oil prices

I HAD hoped that a previous column on oil prices would have been the last but with local gasoline prices increasing upwards 15 times already this year alone (2011), answering the question of how to put the brakes on skyrocketing oil prices becomes imperative. Oil firms and government are singing the same tune as to the supposed reason for the increases: that it is the world market that dictates oil prices and that we are essentially helpless in this regard.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, PhD

Power Failure: Ten Years of EPIRA (2)

(Second of two parts. Part 1 appeared last Thursday.)

WHAT does the government have to show us after a decade of power industry privatization under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA? Power rates have increased all over the country. More rate hikes loom for consumers from various recovery schemes legitimized under the law. The debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) have not been substantially reduced from its US$16.4 billion level in 2001 and there is the recurring threat of brownouts in Visayas and Mindanao due to lack of supply

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Phd
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