Friday, April 6, 2012

E. coli bacteria Found in Davao City

Environmental impact study conducted last year by the regional offices
of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Bureau of
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) revealed that the waters of
Matina Aplaya, this city may be good for bangus-raising but it is
threatened by land-based pollution.

Leonardo Avila III, officer-in-charge of the City Agriculture Office
(CAO) said the tributaries from Talomo and Matina Pangi contribute
much to the pollution in the area.

He said experts are alarmed of the high E. coli bacteria content of
the water that might be ingested by fishes which might eventually be
consumed by the residents.

Avila said the result of the study prompted Mayor Sara Duterte to
dismantle all fish cages in the area while the pollution is being

He said there is a need for a concerted effort from the barangay
governments in the area up to the city line agencies like the City
Health Office (CHO) and City Environment and Natural Resources Office
(CENRO) to survey the number of households which do not have toilets
and septic tanks and piggeries along the riverbanks.

"They must be stopped because they are violating environmental laws,"
Avila said.

He said his office is conducting an inventory on the number of fish
cages which still have fishes to be harvested.

Avila said operators of fish cages will still be allowed to harvest
before the land-based pollution is addressed.

"We might recommend for the relocation of fish cages where they cannot
be affected by the pollution. For now, they are given three to four
months to harvest before they can be dismantled," he said.

The City Agriculture Office accounted for 36 fish cages in Matina
Aplaya since 2011, with 11 cages due to be dismantled this year, after
being found to be operating illegally because of the absence of

Earlier, Duterte-Carpio ordered the CAO to underscore the result of
the environmental impact study of the DOST and BFAR in imposing her
order to dismantle the cages.

"Permits must no longer be issued because two studies of BFAR and DOST
pointed out high concentration of coliform and all sorts of bacteria
and dirt that you can think about, are in the area," the mayor said.

Energy Problem of the Philippines

The government is working to address the power shortages in Mindanao
and will carry out plans to solve the problem in the long term,
President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

In an interview with members of the Philippine press at the Sofitel
Hotel here, the Chief Executive said that his administration inherited
severe power problems in Mindanao after years of neglect by the
previous administrations.

This time, however, the President said, he wants to remedy the problem
so that future administrations do not encounter similar concerns.

"I'm going there (Mindanao) Monday and then we'll thresh it all out,"
the President said when asked about government actions on Mindanao
power shortages.

Prior to his attendance at the 20th Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the President said two power barges are on
standby and awaiting arrangements to supply Mindanao's energy needs.
The government is also working to ensure that enough electricity is
available in Mindanao next year.

"What we're going to do is we're rehabilitating Agos 6, units one and
two; it will take 30 months to replace the necessary components,
turbine, more efficient turbine. "It will expand the lifespan of that
facility by 30 years. It will produce another 19 megawatts," he

Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR4) For Coal

The Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday said it received 69 bids
for 38 coal areas in its fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round
(PECR4) for coal last March 30.

Undersecretary Jay Layug, Chairman of the DOE Review and Evaluation
Committee (REC), said the department opened 69 bids from various
companies who have expressed interest in investing in coal exploration
in the Philippines.

The REC is tasked to examine, evaluate, and review the legal,
technical, and financial qualifications of the PECR 4 applicants. In
determining the winning bidder, the REC will be guided by the criteria
set out in DOE Circular No. DC 2011-012-0010 (Reiterating a
Transparent and Competitive System of Awarding Service and Operating
Contracts for Petroleum and Coal Prospective Areas…), consisting of
legal qualification (10%); technical capability (30%); financial
credentials (30%); and work program (30%).

The opening of new bids clearly showed increased private companies'
interest to invest in exploration and development of indigenous coal
resources in the Philippines from the previous years. This development
will, once commercial production occurs, further reduce the country's
dependence on imported coal and will consequently result in dollar
savings arising from decreased coal importation.

Certain coal areas garnered multiple bids, particularly Areas 18-A and
18-B in Bislig and Lingig, Surigao del Sur, which the DOE considered
as the most prospective in coal resources. Areas that did not receive
any bids in PECR 4 will be offered in the next contracting round.

Some old and new players have submitted applications, including PNOC
Exploration Corp., Semirara Mining Corp., Benguet Corp., Blackstone
Mineral Resources, Inc., Altura Mining Phils. Inc., South Peak Coal
Resources, Inc., Superfine Mines and Minerals, Inc., and Empire Asia
Mining Corp.

The DOE expects to award the winning bidders their coal operating
contracts within 150 days from the opening of the applications.