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Aquino defends special powers

/ 08:57 AM December 13, 2014

BUSAN—President Benigno Aquino III on Friday defended his request for special powers to address a looming supply shortage, saying it was better to be prepared than to be left empty-handed and scrambling in case the situation materializes.

The House of Representatives has passed Joint Resolution No. 21 granting President Aquino powers to facilitate the “expeditious acquisition” of additional power generating capacities.

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But Sen. Sergio Osmena III said President Aquino might have been misled on the power situation, and there was no need for Congress to rush the joint resolution for the grant of special powers.

According to Mr. Aquino, the government was preparing for forced outages, which are becoming more frequent, and needed special powers to contract additional generating capacity. The preparation was also vital for the coming of more investors, especially with the country’s good credit rating, the President said.

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“(Some people) are complaining and saying, what if [the shortage] doesn’t arrive? (Then) what we spent would go to waste. But what if (the power shortage) comes and we have no source of power?” Mr. Aquino asked.

“Our position is, if it comes, we should have a source of supply. If it doesn’t, thank you,” Mr. Aquino said of the government’s plan to rent modular power plants and to tap players in the interruptible load program (ILP) to avert the power shortage in the summer of 2015.

The President said Senator Osmeña may be seeing the situation as “half full,” while the government was seeing it as “half empty.”

“If the supply falls short, I hope he volunteers to be the first to explain why this came about. We pleaded for so long for them to give us the authority to address the problem,” Mr. Aquino said, adding that he would rather prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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TAGS: Aquino, Benigno Aquino III, President Aquino, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, special powers
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