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Batanes in calamity state over fuel lack

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Ecija, Philippines  – Batanes has been placed under a state of calamity because of an acute fuel shortage.

The main island of Batan has been experiencing a power shortage because of the shortfall in fuel supply.

Gov. Vicente Gato called for an emergency meeting over the weekend to address the shortfall. Representatives of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) also attended the meeting.

Since last month, only two fuel shipments were made to Batanes, the first 55,000 liters arriving on June 28.

Because of limited supply, the local power cooperative was forced to shorten operation to sustain activity until the next shipment of 114,000 liters that arrived on July 14.

The new shipment will be shared by six municipalities; 90,000 liters will be allotted for Batan island, while the rest will be allotted for Sabtang and Itbayat islands.

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Batanes, the smallest province in the country both in population and land area, is inhabited by the Ivatan, an indigenous people.

The province is separated from the mainland by the Balintang channel along the South China Sea-Pacific Ocean coast.

The bulk of its fuel supply is shipped through Poro Point in San Fernando City, La Union.

Batanes Electric Cooperative chair Victoria Mata said that fuel shortage is a common occurrence in small power utility grid areas.

Batanes last experienced fuel shortage between September to October 2009 after tropical storm “Ondoy” caused delay in fuel shipment. The shortage resulted in power blackout in the island for a week.

The province is still reeling from an outbreak of dengue last month that affected 600 people.

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