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Information campaign started for Bulusan project, Philippines

Mt Bulusan, Philippines (source: flickr/ agapbulusan, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 21 Sep 2011

An information campaign was started for the Bulusan Geothermal Exploration Project by SKI Group of Companies in the Philippines to inform about exploration activities.

Reported from the Philippines earlier this month, “An initial information education campaign for the Bulusan Geothermal Exploration Project was presented here by the SKI Group of Companies, a Department of Energy (DOE) service contract awardee, to do exploration activities for a possible geothermal potential source outside the declared reservation area of Mt. Bulusan.

Various stakeholders invited by the provincial government to the information communication campaign were the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Community Environment and Natural Resources, Office, Philippine Information Agency, Provincial Tourism Office, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and the three local government units of Juban, Irosin and Bulusan where the initial exploration areas will be conducted.

A schematic map was presented to show the areas where stone and water samples will be taken for geothermal studies.

“The SKI is one of the companies now doing geothermal exploration in three areas of the country so that the supply for power in the Philippines be well provided”,Engineer Benjie Monzon said.

“The government in its effort to provide continued power to its constituency will have to award service contracts to companies for exploratory activities of identified areas where it can be potential for energy source”, Bobby Adajar, representative of the DOE said.

Meanwhile apprehensions of local governments regarding the exploration were ventilated and where threshed out during the open forum.

“What we are afraid of , is if the water source of Bulusan will be depleted”, Mayor Michael Guysayco said.”This is quite difficult to explain to our constituency. while we appreciate the information provided by SKI, still we have some fears”

Mayor Jun Ong of Irosin also said that the exploration phase to be conducted by SKI should be made more consultative.They should still have to do series of IECs to find out the social acceptability of the project by the community, particularly in Irosin where before the plan for geothermal was not accepted.

“We would like to request SKI to do massive IEC so that the constituency will be well informed and if these project pushes through, they are consulted” Ong added. Meanwhile DENR, RO 5, represented by Felix Mendoza also explained that while SKI showed the schematic map for areas of exploration, he requested a hard copy where areas be specifically specified and that the schedule for exploration be provided to them.
“DENR will be represented during the initial and the whole process of the exploration to document and also be aware of the study being conducted”, Mendoza explained.

CENRO officer in charge Krisma Rodriguez also explained that with the Mt. Bulusan Volcano Protected Area Bill already in process, there will be discrepancies in delienated areas and that the map provided by SKI be forwarded to them for review so that there will a clear setting of boundaries.

Meanwhile Governor Raul Lee explained that projects like these are part now of government’ desire to see the needs of the country in terms of power generation and geothermal is one of the safest and renewable source for energy.

DOE reported that the Philippine exploratory phase for different kinds of energy are distributed as Gas Turbine generation 10%, Coal 24 %, Geothermal Power 22%. Hydro 13%, Diesel 8 %, Oil thermal 18 % and combined 5 %.

There are 4 geothermal power plants in the Philippines and there are still 4 companies with geothermal applications.”

Source: Philippines Information Agency