- Posted August 4, 2014 by
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Aquino’s SONA disappoints Phl lawmakers
In his SONA last July 28, the President merely warned the public that the coming El Niño season could raise the energy demand. He also said he has tasked Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to coordinate with the Joint Congressional Power Commission, the Energy Regulatory Commission, members of industry, and, most importantly, the consumers, in order to increase the government's capacity to respond to the energy power problem.
Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu City said while increasing power capacity is the solution to the situation, the SONA should have focused on problems that are blocking its realization.
"Increasing power capacity is the solution. However, it is in the realization of such an increase that is the problem. Bureaucratic red tape resulting in the delay of power plant construction and, consequently, the loss of interest by potential IPP investors --- these are the issues that must be forcefully addressed," said Garcia.
Garcia said luckily for Cebu, there are no brownouts nor a looming power shortage or crisis because during her term as governor, she helped lay down the foundation for a stable power supply.
"That was because when I was governor, I actively supported the construction of power plants, even if it meant contending with an equally active opposition. As a result, we increased capacity not just to Cebu but the grid (Cebu-Panay-Negros) by over 600 megawatts," said Garcia.
Independent Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz said the SONA did not pertain to any specific solution to the power problem.
De la Cruz said the President did not even mention about amending the "Electric Power Industry Reform Act" (EPIRA), which has been the clamor of several legislators.
"There was nothing mentioned about the power crisis solution, and it's a pity there is not even an effort to amend the EPIRA Law," said Dela Cruz.
At least 11 bills are now pending at the Committee on Energy chaired by Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro province seeking to amend Republic Act 9136, otherwise known as the "EPIRA Act of 2001."
One of these proposals is HB 3847 filed by Dela Cruz seeking to protect and promote the rights and welfare of power consumers.