Trans-Asia Oil to build $1-B Sual coal power plant

Eva Visperas - The Philippine Star

SUAL, Pangasinan, Philippines – The green light for the construction of another power plant in this town has been  given with the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) Friday between Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. and the municipal government in simple rites at the town municipal hall.

Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. president and chief executive officer Francisco Viray and mayor Roberto Arcinue, joined by vice mayor Dionisio Caburao Jr., led stakeholders in the signing of the pact for the $1 billion project to be built in Barangay Bacquioen.

“We are signing a memorandum of agreement that embodies the commitment of Trans-Asia Oil to the municipality of Sual in connection with our desire to build a 900- megawatt (MW) power plant within your jurisdiction,” Viray said.

Viray said he didn’t realize that after 22 years, he is again here to thank the people of Sual for agreeing to host another power plant.

 He recalled it was in 1993, when he was then president of the

National Power Corp., that he also requested the people of Sual to support the construction of the 1,218 MW coal-fired power plant in Barangay Pangascasan.

 “I guess the message here is that being from Pangasinan, I’m from Lingayen, it is also but proper to bring investments of Trans-Asia Oil into the province,” he said.

 He said the project did not come overnight as it took them almost a year before it was formalized.

 “It is a project that will result in an inclusive growth because it will generate employment and the benefit that will redound to Sual will also generate some kind of economic development for the municipality,” Viray added.

 Viray said the next step after the MOA signing is the conduct of a feasibility study even as they are now undertaking an environmental impact assessment that would lead to the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate.

 Arcinue said the municipal council, presided over by vice mayor Dionisio Caburao Jr., and the barangay council of Bacquioen, led by chairman Nelson Fontanilla, endorsed the project and authorized him to enter into an agreement with Trans Asia.

 He said several hearings were conducted and no one objected.

 “The people of Sual strongly recommended the 900-megawatts power plant because they see this project to bring further progress to Sual,” Arcinue said.

 He said among those stated in the signed MOA is giving priority to the local folks for employment in the plant and to provide cheaper and more reliable electricity even in the midst of  a possible power crisis. 

The mayor added that Trans Asia also committed to give a P110-million grant for the town’s priority projects like education, health, environment and agriculture and P10-million for the host barangay.

 Arcinue is optimistic that more big-time investors would invest in Sual after it was declared by law as special economic zone.

 In an interview with The STAR, Bacquioen barangay captain Nelson Fontanilla expressed optimism an economic boom would benefit their area with the project.

 He said for the longest time, Bacquioen folks relied only on farming and fishing and few are educated.

 He said with the project, their lives would tremendously improve.

Pangascasan barangay captain Elmer Brudo, whose area would host the 1,218 power plant, said they have received huge benefits including their share from real property tax, employment, and other infrastructure projects.

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