Mindanao opposes night operations

Published by rudy Date posted on March 31, 2010

Businessmen in Mindanao believe that shifting to nighttime operations to save on electricity may not be feasible.

According to Edwin Capili, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) vice president for Mindanao, local business chambers on the southern island have indicated difficulty in operating at night.

“Majority of businesses in Mindanao [need to] operate during the day, and we don’t have as many factories compared [for instance] to Luzon, that could shift operation at night, notwithstanding the waiving of the night differential pay in Mindanao by DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment],” Capili said.

To address the power shortage in Mindanao, which is made worse by the El Niño weather phenomenon, the government had proposed that businesses in Mindanao voluntarily operate between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in order to spread out the high daytime demand for electricity.

As an incentive, the Labor department issued an order that would exempt companies in Mindanao from paying the night differential to graveyard-shift workers.

But according to Capili, the Cagayan de Oro City business chamber said “there are no longer defined peaks and valleys during shortage because everybody uses up power when available.”

Edgardo Lacson, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president, shared the observation. “Doing work at night will have the same effect on energy demand, if not worse,” he said.

Capili said the Iligan City chamber of commerce had taken note of Lacson’s views and that “practically all manufacturing plants in Lanao del Norte run three shifts round the clock.”

The Iligan businessmen had asked instead that the Northern Mindanao Power Corp. be operated at full capacity and an inspection team be created to check the actual levels of water in Lake Lanao.

Canneries in General Santos City, meanwhile, cannot limit their operation to nighttime as cold storage facilities require 24-hour operation, Capili said. –BEN ARNOLD O. DE VERA Reporter, Manila Times

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