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Rift between Gwen and Loot may hamper plan for solar power

CEBU, Philippines – The rift between Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Daanbantayan town Mayor Maria Luisa Loot may hamper plans for a solar power system for Malapascua.

The plan of Capitol to install solar-powered streetlamps along the circumferential road of Malapascua Island may not longer be possible given the growing gap between Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Daanbantayan Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot.

Loot also said the Memorandum of Agreement between the Province and the local government unit of Daanbantayan authorizing the province to take charge of all the developments of the island may be revoked.

"Before na nila ipadayon na project, klaruhon sa nato kung ipadayon pa nila ang MOA. Kay kung wala'y maayong relasyon ang governor ug ang leader sa LGU sa Daanbantayan, who is me, dili na mahimo. Kuhaon na lang namo ang Malapascua. Mangita na lang mi'g paagi na mapadayon ang tourism industry sa isla," Loot said.

But she also said since the MOA -dubbed the Malapascua Development Plan- was signed in August 1, 2003 during the time of former governor Pablo Garcia, not a single project was completed by the provincial government there.

Only the roll-on/roll-off port was started but left unfinished until now. 

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Under the Malapascua Development Plan, the province is also set to build a hospital and a circumferential road in the island.

"Wala pa gani nila nahuman ang RO-RO, wala pa sad nasugdan ang hospital, nganung muambak naman sila sa laing project? Humanon sa nila ang RO-RO dapat," Loot said.

She does not believe that the plans for Malapascua will be realized during the remaining term of Garcia as governor which is only until 2013.

She is torn between being amenable to the proposed solar power system and the obligation to protect the investor that currently provides electricity in the island.

She said that they also have to protect the investor from whom the town gets a significant portion of its income.

Loot said that she will order the revisiting of the MOA to determine if the province has violated the agreement by failing to develop Malapascua for seven years since the MOA was signed.

She will not make any move to revoke the MOA but will let the governor decide.

The Capitol has already secured funds from the Asian Development Bank for its plan to install solar-powered streetlamps to Malapascua.

ADB recently granted the province $270,000, enough to cover the 1.5 kilometer stretch of the island. (FREEMAN)

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