Thursday, April 3, 2014

SM Baliwag cites Earth Hour benefits

BALIWAG, Bulacan—A local mall here cited benefits in participating in the annual Earth Hour celebrations saying they saved energy equivalent to consumption of 25 households since hosting the event four years ago.

As this developed, hundreds of Bulakenyos joined the Earth Hour celebrations in major malls in the province as the provincial government urged them to participate in the annual one hour switch off on Saturday night.

However, the annual activity in the province remain as a private initiated project as only a handful of local government units joined the Earth Hour activities.

Beverly Cruz, public relations officer of SM City Baliwag said they that every year they joined host the annual Earth Hour, they were able to save at least 15 percent in their daily energy consumption.

Citing cumulative records, he said they were able to save at least P51,300 in the last four years.

That savings is equivalent to energy consumption of at least  51 houselholds that consumes P1,000 in electricity every month.

Cruz also disclosed that SM City Baliwag and other SM mall branches are planning to install light emitting diode (LED) lights in the malls this year.

The said LED lights will replace chloroflourescent light (CFL) bulbs within the malls which replaced incandescent bulbs years ago.

“We continue to aim for more energy efficient and environment friendly operations in our malls,” she said noting that the plan is mandatory based on orders of the SM Group management.

Cruz also said that plan is part of their mall management’s attempt to further encourage use of environment friendly technologies that marked annual Earth Hour celebrations here.

Last year, the celebrations was highlighted by solar powered improvised fireflies inside hundreds of plastic bottles.

On Saturday night, the celebration was highlighted by fire dances and use of LED lights by hundreds of Bulakenyos.

Two other Earth Hour activities were celebrated at SM City Marilao and at the Robinson’s Place Malolos.

The celebration was even endorsed by Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado in his weekly radio program over Radyo Bulacan on Saturday morning.

However, Bulakenyos noted the lack of related activities for the Earth Hour initiated by local government units in the province.

A local mayor and a municipal councilor who asked not to be named said they don’t even know what Earth Hour is all about.

However, they vowed to initiate similar activities next year and implement energy saving programs within their offices.  Dino Balabo

Angat Dam is earthquake resistant--Napocor

MALOLOS CITY—Angat Dam is safe and resistant to earthquake, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) said and assured the safety of Bulakenyos living downstream of the dam.

This came as the Napocor launched its information and education campaign on Angat Dam Operation in Norzagaray, Bulacan the other day.

During the launch of the campaign participated by municipal disaster risk reduction officials, planning officer and social workers, Engineer Manny Monteverde of the Napocor Dams, Reservoirs and Waterways division described the 47-years old dam.

 He said that Angat Dam is a rock-fill type of dam and that this type of dam which is resistant to damage from earthquakes.

Monteverde explained that the dam’s capacity to resist earthquakes is due to its inherent elasticity and self-healing characteristics.

He also also made clear that the dam has no crack saying “walang lamat ang dam.”

This in reference to news reports about five years ago that the dam have cracks.

With regards to presence of the West Marikina Valley Faultline which is said to be situated some 200 meters east of the dam’s dike, a geologist from the Engineering Development Corporation of the Philippines (EDCOP) also tried to allay fears of Bulakenyos.

Dr. Ramon Quebral, a structural geologist from the EDCOP said that the theory on the West Valley Fault in connection with Angat Dam is only a premise that is yet to be studied and verified further.

EDCOP is the partner of the Tonkin & Taylor International based in New Zealand that conducted a six month feasibility study on the integrity of the Angat Dam which was completed in May 2012.

In the said study, EDCOP and Tonkin & Taylor did not conduct a site specific seismic study on the Angat Dam to verify the presence of the splay of the fault line.

In an earlier interview, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado disclosed that the said faultline is used by a former administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to justify construction of another dam in Rizal province.

Citing warnings from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs), Alvarado said that the said faultline can move anytime might cause a breach on the Angat Dam.

For her part, Gladys Cruz–Sta. Rita, president of the Napocor also tried to allay fears on possible dam break.

She said the other day, “We must not give in to fear but should not abandon caution."

As a former Provincial Administrator of Bulacan, Sta. Rita said that she came to the infprmation drive not only to speak on behalf of the corporation that has been in the dam industry for 77 years with a pool of the most talented engineers in the country, but also as a concerned Bulakenya.

“Ang aming misyon sa National Power Corporation ay ang maging tagapagbantay at kakampi ninyo sa matagalang kaligtasan at pakinabang sa yamang tubig na tuwina ay gamit natin sa araw-araw na pamumuhay,” she said.

The information drive also discussed why Angat Dam spills water in relation to possibilities of over-topping or overflowing of water that may cause dam failure.

“We only release water when our dam reaches its critical spilling level, this is to avoid over tapping that can impose greater risk in the province of Bulacan. We are only protecting the integrity of our dam,” explained Engineer Russel Rigor of Napocor’s Flood Forecasting and Warning System Division.

He enlightened the participants on Angat River’s flow capacity, Napocor’s warning stations and flood forecasting facilities.

It was also clarified in the presentations that recent floods that hit Calumpit, Paombong, and Hagonoy towns cannot be attributed solely to Angat Dam spilling, but to the natural tendency of these towns to serve as catch basin for the Pampanga River System.   Dino Balabo