Hontiveros: ‘Rotational Brownouts,’ A Possible Public Health Risk Amid Summer Heat

“Kulang na nga ang tubig, mawawalan pa ng kuryente?”

This was the statement issued today by Senator Risa Hontiveros as she urged the government to probe and address the recent spate of power outages in Luzon, warning that any shortage in the power supply will disrupt public health programs and other key services, and inconvenience Filipinos during this summer season.

Hontiveros made the call for investigation after the National Grid Corporation, on Tuesday, April 10, warned the public of “rolling blackouts,” and placed the Luzon grid in “red alert” due to the simultaneous shut down of five power plants.

“The Department of Energy and other agencies must exercise their mandate and ensure that the country has enough power supply during these critical months of the summer season. Government must secure adequate power capacity for the increased demand in electricity this summer, and put an end to any possibly artificial power outages,” she said.

“We cannot afford to have brownouts during this time when our people rely on electricity to cope with the sweltering summer heat, and when hospitals are packed with people suffering from diseases common during summer” she added.

Coupled with the continuing water supply crisis in the metro, Hontiveros warned that rolling brownouts will have “major implications on the public health sector, as more Filipinos may be more vulnerable to diseases.”

Citing the Department of Health (DOH), Hontiveros noted that Filipinos are more exposed to illnesses and health risks associated with rising temperatures during summer, such as heat stroke, dehydration, chickenpox, boils, diarrhea and cholera.

Any power outage too, she said, will impede operations and services in hospitals and public health centers, which are expected to receive more patients in the next few months due to the said diseases common during summer.

“Considering its grave impact on our public health sector, we must ensure adequate power supply for Filipino homes throughout the next few months and beyond. Mainit na ang panahon, kaya huwag na natin painitin ang ulo ng publiko at ipahamak ang kanilang kalusugan dahil sa paulit ulit na brownout,” she concluded.