MANILA, Philippines– Energy Secretary Jericho “Icot” Petilla informed Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda that despite the fact that he has energized all the towns except for three towns, he chose to keep his word.
Petilla is set to resign after the department failed to bring power back to all typhoon-devastated areas before Christmas.
Lacierda confirmed in Wednesday that Petilla will hand over his resignation letter to President Benigno Aquino III tomorrow.
“I just found out that there are still three towns who don’t have electricity yet. We tried energizing them last night without success. We are still trying now,” Petilla told the reporters.
After super typhoon Yolanda hit central Philippines last month, Petilla said 100 towers were crumpled, not just toppled, across Visayas.
“My position? Do you want my position if I don’t make December 24? You will have it. If I make it December 25 then I’ll submit my resignation if that is what you want,” former Leyte governor Petilla said in November 18.
Yolanda-hit areas were wrapped in darkness for several weeks and some areas remained without electricity until today.
However, Malacanang earlier said there is no reason to remove Petilla from office amid a promise he will bring back power in Yolanda-hit areas by Christmas.
100% power restoration in towns
If we are talking about towns and municipalities, then power has been restored 100%,”Petilla said in Tuesday .
According to Petilla the last 5 municipalities of Eastern Samar that remained disconnected from the grid have been energized dawn of December 24. These are Balangiga, Guiuan , Lawaan, Quinapondan, and Giporlos.
However, he pointed out that while all towns and municipalities have been connected to the grid, some houses are still without electricity.
Petilla said that it’s the responsibility of local government units whether to restore or not electricity in the area.
“I said that we (DOE) will restore power in your areas. But assessing whether houses are ready to accept and connect to power sources is the responsibility of the local government units, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the mayor,“ Petilla intoned.
In a press briefing in Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said that President Benigno Aquino III did not discuss the possible resignation of Petilla.
“According to reports, power has been restored in majority of the areas stricken by the calamity. This issue ( power restoration) was not even discussed during his visit,” Coloma explained.
Mayor of Tacloban complains
Petilla is also wondering why Tacloban Mayor Alfredo Romualdez is claiming that power has not been restored in his city.
“Power has been restored in Tacloban two weeks ago. Business establishments in fact have been operating since power is already back. Only Romualdez is complaining.” he stressed.
“Among all the LGUs, it is only the mayor of Tacloban who is complaining. I’m just waiting for him to say that I should resign from my position since power in Tacloban has not been fully restored,” he added.
Petilla said politics is probably the reason why Romualdez did it.
“He comes from a different political camp. Probably he considers that power has not been restored in his city unless his house has power already,” he stressed.
It may be recalled that Petilla is a former governor of Leyte and member of the ruling Liberal Party, who was then appointed by President Aquino to be head of DOE in 2012.
Prior to his appointment to the DOE, he had considered running for Congress against Romualdez’s cousin, Ferdinand.