Iloilo Governor Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. has revealed plans to consider pursuing a class-action lawsuit following the extensive blackout that struck Panay Island last week.
“A class-action suit is an option because damage has been caused to our people. We can file a class-action suit under the Civil Code,” said Defensor.
The power outage from January 2 to 5 impacted not just Iloilo province and city but also Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras.
Defensor confirmed this stance during an interview when questioned about potential efforts to seek compensation for the extensive repercussions caused by the four-day power shutdown affecting the entire island and its four provinces.
“Yes, we will examine our laws kasi there is always a way of exacting accountability lalo na kung public utility ang ating pinag-uusapan. Iba ang public utility sa ordinaryong korporasyon. We will pursue that,” the governor said.
“Ang laki ng damage sa probinsya, sa household, sa mga lost opportunities, at tsaka negosyo ng ating mga kababayan. We will explore that—how do you exact public accountability on the part of the government,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senators are urging for a thorough investigation into the significant blackout that impacted both businesses and residences across Panay and Guimaras. Ilocos Norte First District Representative Sandro Marcos has submitted a House resolution aiming to reassess the franchise of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) due to concerns about alleged inaction and insufficient real-time information during the incident.
On Monday, January 8, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Tolentino submitted Senate Resolution Nos. 890 and 894, respectively, calling for a more comprehensive and thorough investigation into the Panay blackout. Their aim is to delve into all aspects related to the incident that occurred on January 2.
“Considering that past investigations and probes have not yielded palpable results, an even more comprehensive, thorough and extensive examination needs to be conducted, including a review of the concession agreement between the National Transmission Corporation and the NGCP, as well as NGCP’s 25-year legislative franchise itself,” Hontiveros said.