DOE, Summa Kumagai Geothermal undercuts opposition

Barangay officials of the municipalities of Juban and Irosin visits Tiwi Geothermal. PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM
Barangay officials of the municipalities of Juban and Irosin visits Tiwi Geothermal. PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM

By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.

TIWI, Albay ( – The failure of the information education campaign to solicit grassroot support for its geothermal exploration project in the towns of Bulusan, Irosin, Juban, Casiguran and Barcerlona in Sorsogon province was not a total defeat for the project proponent.

This was evident when officials of affected barangays visited the Aboitiz Power Plant in Barangay Cale, Tiwi, Albay under the auspices of Summa Kumagai Geothermal Inc. and the Department of Energy. The visit hope to achieve less opposition in the target barangays of the six municipalities subject of the exploratory works for renewable energy sources as programmed by DOE for the country to have a sufficient energy supply by year 2030.

The new tack of DOE and its exploratory partner was timed when there was an issue of power shortage in Mindanao region which has put in the limelight the need to explore other energy sources which is the clean renewable geothermal energy supply against coal fired power plants which are hazardous and pollutants in nature.

Officials of Barangay Mapaso, Bolos, Patag, Tinampo, Monbon and Cogon of Irosin town and the official of Barangay Bacolod, Puting Sapa, Catanusan, Buraburan, Bagsangan, Rangas, Aroroy and Anog in Juban toured the facility on April 10 and witnessed the actual operation of the geothermal plant.

The lecture focused on the hazardous management program of the power plant and emphasized that environmental regulations are observed seriously at the 5,084 service area out of the 7,661 hectares reserved for geothermal activities.

Oscar Gilpa, barangay chair of Bagsangan and ABC president of Irosin said that there seems to be a disinformation regarding the geothermal exploration issue as espoused by the progressive groups opposing the project. He said that they will be inviting the SKGI and DOE during their barangay assembly so that his constituents will be properly educated about the issue. The same sentiments were echoed by Tinampo barangay kagawad Imelda Loveria.

It was a different view from Kagawad Elma Sambajon of Barangay Catanosan who said there are still so many issues that need to be balance and clarified about geothermal exploratory works. She added that the big question is what comes after the exploration?

That for Barangay chair Nestor Pantua of Monbon, SKGI and DOE must continue this approach, they must invite people and other groups opposing the geothermal project, referring to the group of environmentalist and that of former Irosin Mayor Eddie Dorotan who wrote a letter to the editor of strongly opposing the entry of geothermal business in the NIPAS area of the province.

Such opposition did not only came from the progressive groups, they have an ally in the provincial board when second district board member Benito Doma authored Resolution No. 39-2012 endorsing the uniform resolutions of the Municipalities of Irosin, Bulusan, Juban and Barcelona all of the second district opposing the geothermal exploration in the NIPAS area. Section 54 of the NIPAS law (R.A.7586) or the National Integrated Protected Area system prohibits geothermal exploratory activities within and around the protected area.

The Resolution was endorsed to Secretary Jose Rene Almendras of the Department of Energy. On the part of SKGI and DOE it did not deter them from exploring other avenues, one of which is the guided tour of selected barangay officials in the power plant of the Aboitiz.

The power plant before it was privitized is the Tiwi Geothermal Plant, the oldest operable geothermal plant in the country. Part of the strategy is to rename the project from Mt. Bulusan Goethermal Project to Southern Bicol Geothermal Project, however with the same operable principles and objectives, to tap the renewable energy source of Mt. Bulusan.

Residents of the area when interviewed but refused to divulged their indentify revealed that during chemical treatment the Aboitiz Power Plant request them to vacate their residences for at least three hours because of intolerable fumes permeating the surrounding area. The power group financially compensates the affected residents during the operation.

The point person of Summa Kumagai Geothermal Inc., Engineer Benjamin Monzon firmly believes that in the near future the negative issues regarding the exploration of geothermal energy in their contracted area will be resolve as what happened in the Mt. Apo Geothermal Project.

Copyright 2012 All rights reserved.  Read Syndication Policy.


  1. The local community vultures masquerading as honorable barangay officials are the primary targets of an equally blood sucking capitalist locally known in Irosin as the SKI.

    A company with no expertise in geothermal exploration but are highly recognized as a profit specialist company who are non-residents of the area. The DOE personnel of their kind, who looks so elegant and fashionable in their technocratic underwears are proposing measures to address the mindanao power crisis which is caused by the lingering problem of bureaucratic inefficiency.

    Why don’t just go back to Tiwi or Bacman Geothermal Power Plants and maximize the use of its current facilities, who knows these could be cheaper for the national government.

    As for the honorable barangay officials of Irosin you can now have a future job in these facilities.. . taga-sangab sin baho san bugok na bunay (hdrogen sulfide). But you know guys, the smell of bugok na bunay is an income for SKI, for the Lopezes, Aboitiz, etc.. anyway they’r in Makati City, too far to smell the fumes of a rotten egg.

  2. Another attempt by DOE and SKI,huh?.Go for the weakest link, a handfull of selected local officials they can suckered in..We should be fixing our sick forest than introducing another wrecker of our environment..How happy are those host communities of this Geothermal plant,?The water quality in their respective community, their farmlands, air quality, their lives in general before and after this plant was introduce in their lives..Balance the minus and the plusses. as far as quality of their lives is concern?..SKI is in for the money not for the long term consequences.The host community will be the one taking the brunt and the future generations, by then SKI is long gone with their money.While poor people will be picking up the pieces for nothing..This is not justice..but arrogance by this kind of people and their GREED..On the TOP should be the people of the host communities and the protection of the environment..None negotiable,..NOT in BVNP..DOE and SKI Stay out..Against the law in this protected area. SKI you’ve done enough environmental pollution. Stay out from our home town BULUSAN..Industrialize country focus more on Solar, Wind farm energy technology source. We don’t even talk or think Geothermal here in Canada, We build lots of Hydro Dams, Still the cheapest and environmentally friendly..We can do the same in SORSOGON..Hydro Dams..Solar and wind farm..NO to GEOTHERMAL CRAP!!!!!

    • Hi Romy, kawawa ka naman. Di kana updated. Ur ignorance will result to extreme poverty & hunger ng mga kababayan mo. Don’t you know that:

      Geothermal energy is one of the solution to Climate Change? Please try to open website of Greenpeace and WWF.

      Renewable Energy like Geothermal Energy was endorsed by the Church. You may contact by email Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, because its an environment friendly project and generates jobs to feed poor people.

      Do you think Greenpeace will support Geothermal Power Plants if it is not environment friendly? Kawawa ka naman…

      The reality right now: Big oil companies finance anti-geothermal groups to mislead innocent people. Some politicians becomes anti-geothermal to extort money for their re-election bid next year. Illegal loggers in Sorsogon do not like Geothermal companies to operate because they do not like forest guards to be created by the power plant operators, and they do not want regular tree planting every month be undertaken by the power plant company. This is the reality. The truth.

  3. I am an avid reader of your blog posts. Its real nice that you have updated your website, I must say, its more “user-friendly” now.


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