THE PROVINCIAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (PDC), through its chairperson, Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, has created the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) through Executive Order (E.O.) N0. 13 Series of 2014. The BEDAG is part of the Bohol Island Power Development Plan and is chaired by Gov. Chatto and co-chaired by a representative of the Department of Energy (DOE). Council members are representatives from the NGCP, the three DUs, Provincial Tourism Council (PTC), Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), the Mayor of Tagbilaran City, President of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP-Bohol), President of the Federated Liga ng mga Barangay – Bohol Chapter, Representative of the Bohol Island State University (BISU), the Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator (PPDC) of Bohol, the Provincial Legal Officer, a representative of either a Civil Society Organization (CSO), Consumer Group, or non-government organization (NGO) that is Bohol-based, and representatives of national government agencies NGAs) such as, but not limited to, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), who shall be subsequently added subject to need and prior formal concurrence of these agencies' heads.
A Technical Working Group (TWG) is also on-hand composed of permanent members and alternates to discuss more intimate details of certain important issues and concerns of the body. Giving the group's co-chairmanship to a DOE representative would ensure close-knit coordination between the Province of Bohol and the agency; hence, giving the council the opportunity to be able to discuss relevant issues with it. The Advisory Group came into being as a result of discussions and workshops, participated in by the LGUs, the province's three DUs, the tourism groups and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). However, discussions regarding important provincial concerns will not be limited to the council for it has given assurance that public consultations would be staged in order to come up with the most feasible solutions to Bohol's power concerns.
The Council shall then become the high-level and principal advisory body to the Provincial Government on any and all matters related to energy development in the province. Said Advisory Group aims to achieve an orderly and economic expansion of the power system in the province. This will be done by determining the optimal plan, or least cost, through the adequacy, affordability and reliability of power supply through its transmission and distribution system; and, creating a process and a plan where the three distribution utilities (DUs) in Bohol, namely BOHECO I, BOHECO II and BLCI, will be giving the same quality of service. Some of BEDAG's power supply strategies would be to enter into short-term and long-term bilateral contracts; maximize indigenous energy resources, such as hydro, where it would do rapid resource assessment, conduct feasibility studies for candidate hydro sites, and bid out the development of hydro resources for power plants. It would also be lobbying for alternative transmission link for Cebu and Bohol by satisfying the N-1 reliability criterion of the transmission system and decrease the potential power cost of Bohol due to line rentals. Strengthening distribution networks and looking into the province's emergency power supply programs by taking into account Bohol's current vulnerability and its interruptible load program are also very important aspects of the plan which it would be much interested in. Gov. Chatto says that with the Advisory Council in place, power concerns in Bohol would be properly and effectively addressed, not only today, but most importantly, in the future.
By Janet Lim Villarojo