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Philippine ‘typhoon corridor’ bill breezes thru House on third reading

Posted by commiedyan on November 23, 2007

Manila–Fearing the consequences of typhoon Mina (international codename Mitag; click here for real-time tracking), the House approved without a vote on third reading a measure creating the Philippine ‘typhoon corridor’ at four this morning. House Bill 999.9 sponsored by Rep. Perpetuo Quixote of windswept Batanes had been certified as urgent by Malacañang, allegedly to calm the political weather.

Deliberations of the public works committee had earlier been described as stormy, and before news of Mina, discussions had just been going round and round in circles and spirals.

The measure, mandating the use of state-of-the-art weather control technology, not only eliminates all damage from tropical disturbances but also quadruples the country’s wind energy potential to 16 gigawatts, proponents said. In addition, it would also help shed the country’s image as a state of calamity.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, alleged Philippine president, lauded the development but warned of difficult negotiations in the bicameral conference committee because of radically conflicting provisions. Hearings on the senate bill have also frequently been cancelled because of bad weather.

The corridor, to be constructed at an estimated cost of anywhere from P55 billion to P1 trillion, will be financed in the main by official development assistance from China. It will thenceforth be the sole authorized passageway for all typhoons through the country, and will be administered by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). The infrastructure project will be the first of its kind in the world, NDCC spokesperson Anthony Golez said.

The House version envisions the corridor to be carved across valleys and mountains 20 kilometers south of the northern tip of Luzon. The counterpart bill in the upper chamber, sponsored by senators Aquilino Pimentel and Miguel Zubiri, wants the corridor to cut the whole country longitudinally, from Davao, zigzagging through the major cities in Mindanao and on to the Visayas and Luzon. The House version provides that displaced residents would be relocated to Taiwan while that of the Senate designates Malaysia and Singapore. Both versions provide for the establishment of wind farms along the breadth of the corridor under build-operate-own (BOO) arrangements. Read the rest of this entry »

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