Amid ensuing tensions between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) began operating its 300-kilowatt (kW) Kalayaan diesel power plant in Pag-asa Island, as the country celebrated Independence Day on Saturday.
NAPOCOR allotted Php33 million for the project which covers the supply, delivery, and installation of diesel generating sets, the 13.8-kilovolt distribution line and the fuel oil storage storage tanks that will ensure continuous fuel supply.
The plant will provide power to the 68 facilities on Pag-asa, such as housing, government, and military facilities, as these will be connected to the local distribution line.
“Following the successful series of test and commissioning of the facility early this week, we have seen that it is only fitting to formally switch on the power plant as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Kalayaan residents raise the Philippine Flag on the island on Independence Day,” NAPOCOR President and CEO Pio Bnavidez said in a statement.
Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) may have taken away NAPOCOR’s burden of handling the country’s major power plants, but not of small power assets. It is even mandated to provide power generation and its associated power delivery systems in areas including remote villages that are not connected to the transmission system.
Pag-asa is the only inhabited island in the Kalayaan Group of Islands (KIG) in the WPS, which together make up a municipality of Palawan. The KIG is within the country’s exclusive economic zone.