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Aquino pushes for expansion of geothermal production; blasts Arroyo for current power woes, no to emergency powers

TACLOBAN CITY — Liberal Party standard bearer Noynoy Aquino yesterday pushed for the expansion of renewable energy sources, saying that the country should aim to become the world’s largest producer of geothermal energy.

He also decried the failure of the Arroyo administration to properly manage the country’s existing power generation capacities resulting in the current power shortages.

“She has been in power for almost nine years, and yet here we are facing brownouts during a crucial election season,” the 50-year old senator from Tarlac said in press conference here.

“This is criminal negligence. We know that El Nino was going to visit the country. They knew that Mindanao was going to have a power supply problem. They should have mapped out a plan earlier on,” Aquino said.

He pointed out it would take two to three years to build a power plant. But he acknowledged that there are large-capacity generators which government can buy to address the lack of supply.

Mahal patakbuhin, mahal bilhin (generators). At sa last 2 minutes, masyadong midnight deal na di natin matiyak ano ang pakay,” Aquino said.

He also said that while he is open to a special session of Congress to discuss a possible grant of emergency powers to President Arroyo, Malacañang must first answer questions on the current power crisis.

The LP bet said he prefers developing clean, renewable energy because it is less polluting than fossil fuels.

With more than 1,900 MW of installed geothermal capacity, the Philippines is the second-largest producer of geothermal energy.

The government has set a goal of increasing this figure to 3,100 MW within a decade, which would make the Philippines the largest geothermal energy producer, surpassing the United States.#