Power crisis could affect PNoy's ratings: Suarez

Posted at 04/04/12 10:19 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino’s public satisfaction ratings could plunge further if he and his officials do not stop procrastinating on solving problems affecting the country, a minority leader at the House of Representatives said yesterday.

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said Malacañang was procrastinating on holding a major summit on the Mindanao power crisis after the Holy Week instead of “doing it now.”

“He (Aquino) is coming a little bit late in trying to get a clear grasp of what the problem is now until the problem has grown into a proportion that can be considered as a crisis,” he said.

Suarez said Aquino’s officials have also failed to work as a team that could come up with coordinated and comprehensive solutions to the country’s problems. “With the economy not doing well, it is expected that employers will not like it (wage hike),” he said. 

“But if the President rejects an increase, his popularity will dip further.”

However, Suarez said the decline in the popularity ratings for every president is to be expected.

Power crisis affects businesses

Meanwhile, Mindanao businessmen have complained of losses due to the worsening power crisis in Mindanao.

Jake Miranda, chairman of the Caraga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the power outages in the region have reached 60 to 80 hours a month or an average of at least two to three hours a day.

“We already have rotating blackouts in Caraga and the most affected were those in the service industry that depend on electricity for their operation,” Miranda said.

Former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has also warned of potential job losses due to the daily blackouts in parts of Mindanao.

“National agencies should find ways to help distressed economic sectors cope with the constant blackouts… The Department of Labor and Employment in particular should ensure that the feared dislocation of workers is minimized,” Zubiri said.

He said power-intensive industries hurt by the recurring blackouts include food processing and canning; rice, corn and coconut milling; construction; metal die casting; manufacture of steel, chemicals, cement and paper; and shopping malls and other commercial buildings.

He said agricultural plantations and fishing operations that depend on mechanization and cold storage have also been affected.

Even the petroleum and water industries have been impaired, since they depend on electricity to drive pumping operations, he said.

“In fact, in some communities, access to household, irrigation and industrial water has been reduced due to the blackouts,” he added.

President Aquino is expected to meet with various stakeholders in a summit to be held here next week to discuss the power crisis. Report from The Philippine Star