POWER rates in Aklan are expected to rise as the province’s power distributor seeks to recoup losses associated with the closure of Boracay, legislators associated with the Makabayan bloc of party-list representatives said.
Representative Antonio L. Tinio (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) said in a briefing that the Aklan Electric Cooperative (AKELCO) will lose P17 million monthly as a result of the closure.
“An impending increase of P1.62/kWh will be implemented to cushion the losses,” Mr. Tinio said, adding that “AKELCO has a power purchase agreement with four power generators for 42 MW, which they will have to pay, power sold or not.”
Representative Ariel B. Casilao (Anakpawis) said the closure of the resort island will create a “humanitarian crisis,” directly affecting 36,000 workers and their dependents, estimated to average five each.
He added: “180,000 individuals are directly dependent on the Boracay business cycle,” Mr. Casilao said. Other industries like food, handicrafts and souvenirs will also be affected.
For his part, Representative Carlos Isagani T. Zarate (Bayan Muna) raised concerns over the absence of a rehabilitation plan for the island, citing the lack of spending plans for the P2-billion rehabilitation budget.
“It’s not clear who will benefit from the P2 billion,” Mr. Zarate said. “They’re saying it will be for full-time workers, but what about the peddlers?”
Mr. Zarate filed a House Resolution dated April 3 calling for a joint investigation by the Committee on Natural Resources and Committee on Ecology into the Boracay closure.
Boracay will be closed to visitors for six months beginning April 26. — Charmaine A. Tadalan