INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

WB studying solar power for islands

Power industry expert UP Prof. Rowaldo del Mundo was in Catanduanes for two days last week together with two representatives of the World Bank.

It may be recalled that the professor was with officials of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) when it backed up the pet project of former Cong. Hector Sanchez to connect the island grid to the main Luzon power grid via submarine cable across the Maqueda Channel.

According to an official of the National Power Corporation (NPC) who was with the trio during the brief visit, Prof. Wally has been commissioned by the World Bank to conduct a study on the feasibility of setting up solar power farms in island grids.

The team was supposed to proceed to Palumbanes island but the trip did not push through, perhaps due to the fact that Napocor already has a small solar power plant alongside its diesel genset there.

The study will also consider the establishment of a solar power plant here to be connected to the 69-kV transmission line now being laid out by NPC.

The results would probably be the basis of the bank’s grant of financing for solar farms in the country, especially in areas isolated from the main power grid.

With regards to the submarine power cable project, or the grid interconnection project as technical experts call it, Prof. Wally reportedly told Napocor that the project would definitely be constructed.

But as to who will get to build it, no one is apparently sure.

The UP professor reportedly said that TransCo is still willing the build the project but it would need the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) to file the required application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

It may be recalled that the privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has already asked ERC to issue provisional authority so that it could complete the P9 billion project within two (2) years, with exploratory hearings already conducted.

On the other hand, TransCo has already submitted for approval its 15-year Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) program but it cannot be confirmed if the Catanduanes submarine cable project has been included in the list.


Last Sept. 10, 2022, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) issued Institutional Advisory No. 45 urging all members of the Board of Directors, General Managers, officials and employees of the electric cooperatives (ECs) to undergo random drug testing.

Within 15 days from the receipt of the advisory, therefore, FICELCO management is supposed to submit to NEA an account of its compliance with the random drug testing of officials and employees.

The advisory is pursuant to NEA Advisory to all ECs dated 15 December 2016 and in compliance with Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, specifically Article III, Section 36, Item (d), and Department of Labor (DOLE) Department Order No. 53-03, Series of 2003, Guidelines for the Implementation of a Drug-Free Workplace and Programs for the Private Sector.

Outside the electric cooperative, perhaps there is no other private establishment in Catanduanes that conducts random drug tests for its employees.

For those in government, drug testing remains a requirement for initial entry to government service and those found positive for drug use shall not be hired or appointed, according to a CSC resolution.

As a condition for retention in service, incumbent public officials and employees are supposed to be subjected to a mandatory random drug testing every two years.

Job order and contract of service hires are also supposed to be covered by a drug use policy in their contracts.


HOW TO MAKE TOMATOES RIPEN. A woman’s garden is growing beautifully but the tomatoes won’t ripen. She goes to her neighbor and says, “Your tomatoes are ripe, mine are green. What can I do about it?”

The man replies, “Well, it may sound absurd but here’s what to do. Tonight, there’s no moon. After dark go out into your garden and take all your clothes off. Tomatoes can see in the dark and they’ll be embarrassed and blush. In the morning they’ll all be red, you’ll see.”

She says to herself “Well, what the heck? It can’t hurt to try it.”

Next day her neighbor asks how it worked.

“So so,” she answers. “The tomatoes are still green but the cucumbers are all four inches longer.”

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