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SAMAL | Woes in basic utilities haunt tourism industry




THE ISLAND Garden City of Samal has continued to face challenges in its basic utilities even as it has rebooted its main livelihood, tourism.

Araceli L. Ayuste, president of the Samal Resort Owners Association and the Davao del Norte Tourism Council, said in a text message that aside from lack of visitors brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the resort owners are also facing problems in the stability of both power and water supplies.

On power, she said, it has remained unstable “although it has improved a bit.”
On water, “not all consumers have water connections,” she explained.
This writer sought the opinion of the city government through its information office but has yet to receive a reply.

On March 1, about 70 resorts resumed operations even as they need to ensure that health protocols are followed, said Ayuste.
“We have informed our employees that we have resumed operations,” she said.

The late mayor of the city, Rogelio Antalan, drafted several plans during his tenure in the 1990s for the improvement of its utilities, but the systems – power, water and telecommunications -have yet to see marked improvements.

On power, the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative, former the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, supplies power to the city, it being part of its franchise area. However, unlike other parts of the province, its supply passes through a submarine cable which is connected to the transmission system of the Davao Light Power Co.

Nordeco has announced it is setting up another submarine cable, this time will cover 11 kilometers as it will be set up between the island city and Pantukan, Davao de Oro. Based on its announcement, the project will cost about P1.1 billion.

A consumer group based in the island city, the Samal Consumer Welfare Coalition, urged the power cooperative to, instead of building a new submarine cable, improve the existing submarine cable to ensure that the city is better served as the group feared that the cost of the project will only be passed onto consumers.

There have also been attempts to transfer the sourcing electricity for the city, and even the entire province, to Davao Light.

The latest of these attempts is the ongoing signature campaign which was launched early this month and which originated in the city.

Davao Light has distanced from the campaign, while Nordeco claimed some groups, including politicians were behind it.

The move to transfer to Davao Light the responsibility of supplying power to the province is not new as the same move was resorted to that resulted in the transfer of three towns and a city in the province to the franchise area of the private company. The towns of Sto. Tomas, Carmen, Braulio E. Dujali and Panabo City are all under the franchise area of Davao Light, which mainly serves Davao City.

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