Aquino rejects Petilla resignation
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday rejected the resignation of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.
During a meeting at the Malacanang Palace, Aquino convinced Petilla to remain as head of the Department of Energy, amid his decision to quit after failing to restore electricity in some towns devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan).
“The President did not accept the resignation, cognizant of the fact that according to original estimates, it would take three to six months to restore power in town centers, considering the extent of the damage caused by Supertyphoon Yolanda,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.
He said not only was the Luzon-Visayas connection down, but a major geothermal plant in Leyte had shut down. Generation, transmission and distribution lines were also down because of the calamity.
The Palace lauded Petilla’s accomplishments despite his inability to ensure the electrification in all towns affected by “Yolanda.”
“First, from his original target of six months he was able to restore power in roughly 40 days. Second, within that period, Secretary Petilla was able to energize 317 out of 320 affected towns, leaving 0.93% still to accomplish,” Lacierda said.
He called the energy secretary’s performance “excellent,” adding that even foreign observers pointed out that the repair and rehabilitation of energy infrastructure in Visayas was fast compared to those in other countries faced with disasters of lesser magnitude.
“For all these reasons, the President, in rejecting Secretary Petilla’s offer to resign, reiterated that he has no intention of losing the services of an honorable public servant,” the spokesperson said.
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