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Robredo to prioritize underground power and telecommunications infrastructure to avoid storm collapse


Vice President Leni Robredo has stated that if she is elected president, she will prioritize the construction of underground power and telecommunication infrastructures to address the perennial problem of lines collapsing during storms.

Robredo said on Tuesday that she came to this conclusion after personally visiting areas affected by Typhoon Odette from last Friday to Sunday, where she saw houses, power lines, and communication towers downed, particularly in the Dinagat Islands in the Caraga Region.

Previously, the Vice President stated that some areas are still without power and mobile signals, making it difficult for provinces to begin recovery and communicate what they require.

"One realization from the series of very strong typhoons that have hit our country is that putting electric and communication lines underground, particularly in typhoon-prone areas, should be our next priority infrastructure development agenda," she wrote on Facebook.

Robredo claimed that implementing this system would be cost-effective, claiming that it would ensure that hospitals and other facilities that require electricity, such as storage centers for COVID-19 vaccines that must be kept at low temperatures, would have access to it.

During a Facebook livestream on Monday, Vice President Biden explained that even with generator sets in place, electricity became a problem for hard-hit areas, as government offices scrambled to find fuel to keep the equipment running.

She also stated that disaster victims believe that people in other areas, particularly Metro Manila, do not have a clear picture of the extent of the damage due to faulty communication lines.

Such issues, according to Robredo, would be resolved if cables were underground.

“First, in the long run, this would be cost-effective compared to the recurring costly rehabilitation of above-ground electric and communication lines and posts which are felled and destroyed by typhoons,” she explained.
“Second, the disruption and absence of power and communication services  adversely affect the economy and business.  Third, the extension of health, hygiene and sanitation services is greatly hampered,” she added.

It’s not the first time that underground power and communication lines have been proposed: Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, whose province is frequently hit by strong cyclones, pushed for such measures, according to Robredo.

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of the BH party-list filed a bill in January 2020 that would require public and private telecommunications and electric companies to put their lines underground in order to ensure that these essential services are available during calamities such as typhoons and volcano eruptions.

Odette slammed into Visayas and Mindanao last Thursday, first hitting the northern part of Caraga Region before moving on to the southern parts of Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, and then Palawan.

Odette had maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) near its center at its peak.

Robredo’s campaign headquarters on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City has been converted into a relief operation center, as they attempt to assist all areas in need. Robredo had earlier resumed his rounds in the Odette-affected areas, checking on residents of Manjuyod, Negros Oriental.

Robredo to prioritize underground power, telco infrastructures to avoid collapse during storms|

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