ROMUALDEZ WARNS VS GRANT OF EMERGENCY POWERS TO PNOY
• September 16, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
HOUSE independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez cautioned yesterday his colleagues from granting emergency powers to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to solve the looming power crisis during the summer of 2015 in Luzon without thorough scrutiny.
Romualdez said Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla should adequately support his recommendation to President Aquino that there is a need for emergency powers from Congress and declare that there is an emergency situation on the country’s power supply.
“This is a very serious matter that Congress should address with caution. The concerned government officials should back the necessity of giving emergency powers to the President,” said Romualdez.
Finally, President Aquino formally asked the House of Representatives to give him emergency powers to solve the imminent power crisis next year by entering into contracts to establish additional generating capacity.
Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. said the House of Representatives will immediately pass the resolution for emergency powers of the President.
Belmonte directed the House committee on energy headed by Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali to craft the resolution.
“The Umali committee will draft the Joint Resolution in conjunction with the Senate Committee,” said Belmonte.
“This is provided for in the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act), not really an emergency power,” the Speaker said.
For his part, Umali vowed to pass the resolution by end of October.
“We will have to consider that, kami naman we are ever supportive of the President. The President won’t ask that if he doesn’t need it,” said Umali.
“Definitely, as chair of the Energy panel, I’ll be the prime mover of that resolution. It will be a committee responsibility, and of the whole Congress, that we shall pass the joint resolution,” Umali stressed.
In his letter to Belmonte, President Aquino cited the power in accordance with Sec. 71 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the EPIRA.
“I hereby seek the immediate enactment of a joint resolution authorizing the President to establish additional generating capacity,” the President said in a two-page letter sent to Congress last Friday.
Based on Section 71 of the EPIRA, it states that: “Upon determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity, Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity.”
President Aquino said the Department of Energy’s (DOE) projected critical electricity situation in the summer of 2015 “arising, among others, the expected effects of the El Niño phenomenon, the 2015 Malampaya (gas-to-power facility) turnaround, increased and continuing outages of power plants and anticipated delays in the commissioning of committed power projects.”
It stressed that the Malampaya natural gas facility in Palawan is expected to shut down from March 15 to April 14, 2015.
“There is no gainsaying that the imminent electric power shortage during these months is a real threat to the country’s growing economy and the general welfare of the people,” President Aquino said.
The Chief executive said Congress immediate passage of the measure “will ensure the energy requirement of the country for this critical period — through a specific, focused and targeted acquisition of additional generating capacities for use during the limited periods of time of very tight energy supply.”
Earlier, Petilla explained granting the President emergency powers would allow the government to tap additional power capacity.
He explained that the emergency powers would allow the government, through the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), to contract additional power.
The government plans to address the 300 MW projected deficit for next year and additionally generate another 300 MW in power reserves.