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    Posted January 13, 2014 by
    omeroscar
    Location
    Manila

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    Energy crisis row enraged Phl senator

     
    SENATE President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday said Energy officials should be "burning the midnight oil" by now in crafting proposed amendments to the Electric Power Industry Act (EPIRA) and other laws that will remove chokepoints in the building of power plants.
    Recto made the remark as some members of Philippine Congress squabble on whether or not President Benigno Aquino III needs emergency powers to solve the country’s energy crisis.
    "The DOE (Department of Energy) guys have good proposals. That agency is not suffering from a mental blackout. All they have to do is package them in one reform legislation," Recto said.
    Recto likened the EPIRA to a power plant "which has been in operation for 12 years and is therefore due for some recalibration."
    EPIRA was authored by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and is now facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the P10-billion “pork barrel” funds scandal.
    On proposals to grant President Aquino emergency powers, Recto said "it is up to the President to demand them but my view is that it should be the legislation of last resort."
    "It is also a move fraught with political risks because once he has it, the onus of solving the energy crisis falls on him. If electricity rates will go up, for example, the people will expect him to tame the increase on the mistaken belief that he has the power to moderate them."
    Recto also warned that emergency power is politically high-voltage that it can electrocute him (Aquino). People will see it as the magic wand that can make high power rates go away or power plants go up in an instance.
    Meanwhile, Sen. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said the government in the 90s ended up with much-criticized take-or-pay provisions where government and the people ended up paying for unused power.
    “Does the government need emergency powers to fast track new power plants? Probably not, but issue is worth looking into. It is important for us not to forget history,” Angara pointed out.

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