A fifth of Bohol households still without power as death toll hits 201 more than a week after quake means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE - 10:44 a.m.) At least one in every five households in Bohol still doean't have electricity more than a week after a deadly earthquake struck the island-province.

This development came to light as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Friday that the death toll from the disaster has reached 201.

In a briefing paper prepared for President Benigno Aquino III's visit to the province, the Department of Energy (DOE) said power had been restored in all 26 towns, for a 100 percent accomplishment as of October 23.

But as we go down from the level of the municipality, the numbers become less glowing.

In terms of number of barangays, the DOE reported a 91 percent accomplishment, with 504 out of 602 villages already enjoying electricity access.

At the level of the household, however, only 78 percent of 227,974 families have power. This leaves 49,673 families still without electricity.

As for fuel supply, the DOE said the lone depot in Tagbilaran City is already operational. But given the damage to Bohol’s roads, delivery to the different gasoline stations has been delayed as trucks take alternative – and longer – routes.

Gasoline stations across the province have resumed operations, except for the town of Maribojoc, whose residents can secure their requirements from the neighboring municipalities of Loon and Antequerra.

The DOE said it has received reports of “unreasonable price” of fuel products in the province, and has written Governor Edgar Chato to course complaints to a joint task force of the Energy and Justice departments.

Although a price freeze is in effect throughout Bohol for two months, fuel products are not covered by the Price Act. Fuel pricing is covered by the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act, which allows the market to set the prices.

According to the DOE, retail prices of fuel products in Bohol are as follows:

  • Diesel , P44-50 a liter
  • Gasoline, P53-60 a liter
  • Kerosene, P52-55 a liter

But the price of certain fuels sold in bottles and other odd containers, especially in areas without a nearby gasoline station, can shoot up to a range of P75-P120 a liter.

The DOE however expects such irregular retail transactions to end after gasoline stations have resumed operations. In any event, the local government can put a stop to this practice as such irregular retailers don’t have business permits, the department said.

In its Friday update, the NDRRMC said 187 of the fatalities were in Bohol, with 13 in Cebu and one in Siquijor.

Ten persons remain missing while 720 were injured in the disaster, which affected 631,605 families, or 3,158,869 individuals, in 1,494 barangays in 59 municipalities and six cities in six provinces in Regions 6 and 7.