Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) is seeking over P300 million from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fund the relocation of utility poles that are obstructing road expansion projects in the city and province.
The power coop wants to hasten the removal and transfer of the utility poles due to rising public complaints because of the hazard they pose to motorists.
PALECO acting general manager and project supervisor Engr. Nelson Lalas said although they are yet to complete and finalize the validation of the number of electric posts they have to pull out of widened roads and other expansion projects, they have already estimated that the plan will need more than P300 million to execute with the DPWH.
“Why does it cost that much? [Because] we will not transfer the poles na isa-isa. Magco-construct ang PALECO ng bagong linya at saka papatayin ‘yong luma — saka tatanggalin upang sa gayon ay maiwasan natin ang brownout,” Lalas told Palawan News.
Lalas said the utility poles are still blocking widened roads because PALECO cannot do anything unless the DPWH provides the funds they require.
He said the DPWH has to hasten its action to avoid road accidents that they may cause, not to mention the fact that PALECO is already heavily blamed for their extended presence.
“If the poles or obstruction ay [nasa kalsada na], kailangan nang i-relocate ‘yan dahil hazardous. Ang PALECO, ililipat namin ‘yan [pero kailangan namin ng pondo],” he said.
Lalas said the removal will be jointly done with the DPWH under proper guidelines and procedures for the compensation for recovery cost in the need to relocate”.
He said they have sent initial inventory and costing two months ago to the DPWH’s district offices in the province for “proper endorsement” to concerned government agencies.
Right now, PALECO is just waiting for replies, he added.
National Electrification Administration (NEA) deputy administrator technical services sector Artis Nikki Tortola, on the other hand, said this cost will have to be certified by their office before it is submitted to the DPWH.
“Mag-sche-schedule ng payment at pipirma ng kontrata si DPWH at electric cooperative para sa mga babayaran ni DPWH sa affected and obstructed. Sa obstruction, DPWH is initially saying na i-a-advance ‘yong relocation then ire-refund na lang ang gastos. But some of the electric cooperatives ay hindi kakayanin ‘yon kaya hinihintay nila ‘yong bayad,” he said.