JCPC to keep watch on possible abuses on President Aquino's emergency powers

December 12, 2014 9:23 am 

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Dec. 11 (PNA) — The Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) will keep an eye on possible abuses on the joint resolution granting President Aquino emergency powers to address the looming power crisis in 2015, Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali on Thursday said.

In a press conference, Umali said the technical working group (TWG) formed by JCPC, which Umali co-chairs, will not be the one to monitor all possible abuses on the implementation of the resolution.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 149-18 approving the resolution on third and final reading.

He said the resolution was amended to show that the President may authorize to source from the Malampaya fund the reimbursement for the owners of self-generating facilities over their fuel expenses, including manpower and reasonable recovery of use.

"We did not dissolve the TWG of the JCPC so that it will continue to function to foresee its implementation, so we will avoid excesses or abuses," Umali told reporters.

Based on the amended resolution, "The President is hereby authorized to source from the Malampaya funds the amount necessary to implement the provision."

Umali said this portion of the resolution is meant to downplay criticisms that Congress may lose its mandate to dictate on the executive how to use the Malampaya fund, which is now required by the Supreme Court to be used only for energy-related projects.

"We put in the amendment that the Malampaya as the source to clarify issues that the Supreme Court decision says Congress should not surrender its mandate to dictate on the executive how to use the Malampaya. This is to clarify that the authority to use the Malampaya fund for this purpose emanates from Congress through this joint resolution," Umali said.

Pressed on possible abuses on the joint resolution, Umali could not give any specific answer, saying the resolution was drafted precisely to prevent excesses besides its purpose to avert the power crisis.

"I am not thinking about that I am positive about this," Umali said. "We will be on top of the situation. We will rely on reports, more than those from Malacanang, also from power stakeholders including the private sector so that we will know if there are problems. And we will do it proactively, not re-actively," he said.

House Joint Resolution No. 21 seeks “to provide for the establishment of additional power generating capacity as mandated by Republic Act No. 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), to effectively address the projected shortage of the supply of electricity in the Luzon grid from March 12 to July 2015.”

In a letter to Congress, President Aquino said granting him the authority to contract additional power capacity will help him address the factors of the power shortage, such as the anticipated El Nino phenomenon, the Malampaya plant shutdown, prevalent outages of power plants, among others.

The resolution also was amended on the plenary to show that only 782 megawatts (MW), from the earlier forecast of 1,004 MW, is the maximum projected shortfall during the period.

Of this, 135 MW, from earlier forecast of 600MW, is needed to meet the required regulating reserve, while 647 MW, from 404 MW, is needed for required contingency reserve.

Furthermore, the resolution said there is a projected two weeks of red alert, when brownouts will occur, and at least 15 weeks of yellow alert, or thinning power reserves. This was amended from an earlier forecast of four weeks of yellow alert only. (PNA)



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