Energy official: Power back to storm zone by 12/24

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla pledged Monday to restore power in all typhoon-battered regions by Dec. 24.

Petilla told a news conference in Palo, in hard-hit Leyte province, he was ready to resign if he failed to meet the Christmas Eve deadline.

"It's difficult to celebrate Christmas without light," he said.

He did acknowledge that the task, which would involve erecting about 160 giant power transmission towers and thousands of electric posts toppled by Typhoon Haiyan, was an impossible mission.

The storm, one of the strongest ever, laid waste to large sections of Leyte and Samar islands, and left more than 5,000 people dead or missing.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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