Petilla will explain Aquino emergency powers before Congress
MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla will have to explain to Congress the parameters of President Benigno Aquino III’s requested emergency powers, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda admitted that the request letter sent by Aquino to the Senate and the House of Representatives lacked details, which will later “be filled up by Secretary Petilla.”
“So that will have to be discussed by the Department of Energy with both the House and the Senate,” he said.
He said it was certain that both chambers of Congress will ask Petilla to appear before them and explain the situation and the range of powers needed.
Aquino last week announced that he would need additional powers to address the projected energy deficit of 300 megawatts to 1000 megawatts during the summer of 2015.
In his letter to Congress, Aquino cited Section 7 of Republic Act 936 or the Electronic Power Industrial Reform Act, which is the basis of his request. Labeled the “Electric Power Crisis Provision,” it allows Congress to authorize the establishment of additional generating capacity based on the President’s determination of an imminent shortage of electricity supply.
Lacierda assured the public that Congress will thoroughly study the situation so it would not result in agreements detrimental to the government such as “take-or-pay” provisions that promise payment for energy produced regardless if it is needed or not.
He denied that the need for emergency powers meant that government was not ready.
“We are already telling people: ‘Look, we foresee a possible shortage in 2015, and that’s why we’re telling you right now that we’re doing some measures to anticipate a possible shortage in 2015,’” he said.
Energy conservation is also being explored by both the government and the private sector, especially since the country is anticipating El Niño towards the end of the year.
He said that beyond the summer of 2015, the country will have “sufficient energy to attend to the needs of our business or commercial activities.”
He said some power plants will be able to function by 2015 or 2016.