Holy Week vacationists flocking in droves to Samal Island,  met with power outages of divided electric coop

april 17, 2014

This Holy Week, vacationists and tourists are flocking in droves to Samal Island beach resorts but they are met by frequent power outages as the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) continues to be wracked by infighting between two factions of the electric cooperative.

“Desperado na gyod mi aning Daneco. Because of its power outages and fluctuating power supply, some resorts are taking in only a half of the customers. They have their own generating sets (gensets) with limited capacity to serve. To appease customers, beach resort owners have to cut their entrance fee by half,” said Island Garden of City Samal (IGACOS) Vice Mayor Al David Uy in an interview.

There are more than 80 beach resorts operating around the shorelines of Samal Island including its small Talikud Island.

“Like this Holy Week, we know thousands of people are coming in the island like those from Tagum City and Davao City but they are met with power outages,” he said.

He said that for many years now Daneco is insufficiently supplying power to the island through the “dilapidated” submarine cable.

The 30-year-old  submarine cable can only carry about 5 megawatts of power, a load which can no longer sufficiently meet the full power needs and expansion of Samal Island.

Because of the deficient power supply that forced Daneco to make rotational brownouts, resort owners have to buy and operate their own gensets, “but with higher power costs at the burden of resort owners, in return, they have to charge higher entrance fees like P110, P150 or P200 per head,” the vice mayor added.

Uy expressed desperation that the protracted infighting between the two electric cooperatives has resulted to giving a heavy cross for the island to carry as the long-occurring power outages and deficient power supply have been responded only with “band aid solutions.”

He foresees that the problem on power outages would drag for a long period of time, saying that “it took even 20 years for the Vizconde massacre to be finally decided by the Supreme Court.”

The legal case on who should manage Daneco, whether it is Daneco-NEA faction or Daneco-CDA faction, is still on appeal by the latter at the Court of Appeals’ level and it is yet going to the Supreme Court.

Last year, Samal Island saw a 40-percent increase of tourist influx from 106,360 in 2012 to 177,382 registered tourists, reported the City Tourism Office. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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