Samal Island under state of calamity due to power crisis

May. 23, 2023 file photo

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The City Council of the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) has declared a state of calamity for the entire island due to an ongoing power crisis and increasing public dissatisfaction.

Since February 28, the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (NORDECO), the city’s primary electricity distributor, has faced continuous criticism for prolonged power interruptions and alleged high electricity rates, leaving consumers dissatisfied.

The crisis is expected to persist until February 28, 2024.

NORDECO has committed to completing the P1-billion Pantukan-Aundanao Submarine Cable Project by the end of the first quarter of this year. The consuming public, however, remains dissatisfied due to the damage caused to their homes and business appliances, as well as disruptions to economic activities.

On March 16, the City Council filed Resolution No. 734, seeking authorization for the government and its agencies to employ necessary measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of the power crisis and ensure the welfare of island residents.

The City Council’s Committee on Energy summoned NORDECO board members, including its chairman, Emmanuel Galarse, and general manager Elvira Alingog, to appear before them on May 11. The committee aimed to discuss the energy situation and address the public’s concerns.

As a result, the City Council approved a P8.1-million budget from the 30% Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the 5% Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund to the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management (CDRRM) Council for the purchase of modular power generators and accessories. 

Secondly, it authorized Mayor Al David Uy to procure modular generator sets and accessories, also amounting to P8.1 million, from the CDRRM Fund-QRF.

The city’s legislators are also actively lobbying in Congress for the passage of bills revoking NORDECO’s franchise and allowing a new electric company to meet the island city’s power demands.

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib expressed his frustration over the power crisis, citing what he called NORDECO’s incompetence and negligence in fulfilling its mandate. 

Jubahib challenged the electric cooperative to step aside if it cannot address the issue and make way for a new entity.

In March, various groups, led by the Tagum Chamber of Commerce, staged a rally against NORDECO.

Meanwhile, the Davao Consumer Movement (DCM) commended the swift and proactive measures taken to address the power crisis. 

DCM convenor Ryan Amper emphasized the importance of open dialogue and accountability in resolving the issue. 

Amper called on NORDECO to take responsibility for the continuing and worsening power crisis on the island. (originally posted on

Lucelle Bonzo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.

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