The Philippine STAR Wednesday, 23 September 2009
By: Jack Castaño
BASCO, Batanes - Life in this northernmost province of
the country is returning to normalcy, following the arrival of
a Philippine Navy mine sweeper frigate on Sunday to
deliver emergency fuel to run the National Power Corp. generators.
The islanders have been without electric fuel since
Sept. 4. To solve the problem, the Napocor initially reduced
its operating hours to 16, from 12 midnight to 8 a.m. for the
whole Batan island.
In the island-municipalities of Sabtang and Itbayat,
power was reduced to 12 hours.
On Sept. 13, electric power was further reduced to 12
hours in the mainland and six hours in Sabtang and Itbayat.
In as much as the Napocor could not get a ship large
enough to bring a year's supply of diesel fuel, the mission
was given to the Philippine Navy.
However, for lack of a logistics ship, the Navy had to pullout
Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas Quezon (PS70) from the
operation area in Southern Philippines to bring immediately
Early Sunday morning PS70, under the command of
one Commodore Quines, steamed to port with 60,000 liters
of Napocor fuel. The fuel is expected to last for at least
24 days at the reduced operating hours of 16 hours a day.
In a speech Monday afternoon in Mahatao town, where
the Navy conducted a medical-dental-civic program, Naval
Forces Northern Philippines Chief, Commodore Jose
Alano said, their quick response was the result of the
coordination of three offices.
"Gov. Telesforo Castillejos has a standing invitation to the
Navy to conduct maritime patrol in the sea frontier of the
province and to conduct civil military operations," Alano
told his audience.
"The governor's request was delayed because of the operational
commitments of the Navy vessels in Mindanao,"
"When Rep. Carlo Diasnes' request came last week, Admiral
Ferdinand Golez, Navy chief, immediately informed
me to get ready for the joint mission in response to the requests
of Gov. Castillejos, Rep. Diasnes and that of our unit,"
The Civil-military group of the NFNL attended to at least
120 medical and dental patients and painted the home
economics building of the Mahatao Elementary School.
The Naval personnel also distributed 220 liters of regular
gasoline to local residents who own a motor vehicle.
Moreover, the MV Transend, a 700 ton-commercial ship
docked Monday afternoon at the Basco pier to unload much