JUSTIFY EMERGENCY POWERS FOR PNOY
• October 29, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
OPPOSITION and administration House leaders yesterday joined independent bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez in challenging anew the Department of Energy (DOE) to further justify the need to grant President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III emergency powers.
Romualdez and Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. issued the statement as Congress adjourns this week for Halloween recess without approving the emergency powers for President Aquino.
“We do not want brownouts to happen, but concerned government agencies led by the Department of Energy should further justify the need for emergency powers as a matter of checks and balances,” said Romualdez.
Belmonte agreed with Romualdez, saying his leadership can still expedite the granting of emergency powers to President Aquino provided the DoE can justify its need after the department admitted that the problem is about the lack of power reserves and not the supply.
“Once the need (for immediate granting of emergency powers) is substantiated, I would have no objection. But this has not been done so far,” Belmonte complained.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who chairs the House committee on energy, vowed to immediately approve the committee report for emergency powers when Congress resumes session on November 17.
“We can’t approve it (emergency powers) before we adjourn this week, but this is our priority when we resume our work on November 17. After approving the committee report, we will immediately pass the emergency powers in a matter of week or two weeks in the plenary,” Umali said.
The DoE is looking at the projected shortfall of 647 megawatts (MW) contingency reserve plus the 31 MW power shortage or a total of 678 MW in a worst case scenario.
Earlier, the DoE pictured a grim scenario when it claimed the alleged 800 to 900 megawatts (MW) power shortage for the summer months of next year.
Umali also vowed to look into the views of President Aquino that tapping private generator sets or the interruptible load program (ILP) may not be enough to address the lack of power reserves.
He clarified that the emergency powers they would give to President Aquino include 847 MW from ILP, 264 MW from plants for interconnection as disclosed by Manila Electric Company (Meralco), 690 MW from committed power plants and various energy conservation measures.
President Aquino told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum recently that ILP is only good should private firms agree to regularly generate power.