DOE wants review of SC ruling on use of Malampaya fund

By , on September 3, 2014

Malampaya gas platform. Photo Sembcorp Marine.
Malampaya gas platform. Photo Sembcorp Marine.

MANILA — The Department of Energy (DOE) urged for a review of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling regarding the use of Malampaya fund, in order to tap it to protect the facility and the rest of the Philippine territorial waters near Malampaya.

“If you want us to protect the West Philippine Sea (WPS), we have to inject our energy resource. We will need this amount (use of Malampaya fund) for the Department of National Defense (DND)… We will work on this but, it will pass through the lawyers, to see the (SC) order, because we might be violating the orders of the Supreme Court,” said Petilla during the DOE’s budget hearing on Tuesday at the House of Representatives committee on appropriations.

He explained that the DOE was forced to stop operations not directly under the resource development after the SC decided that it cannot be used for other purposes.

However, the energy chief pointed out that they are still asking for the terminologies under energy resource development and exploitation to be able to tap the Malampaya fund to other use.

The Malampaya fund was created for the purpose of financing energy resource exploration, development and exploitation programs and projects of government and “such other purpose as may be directed by the President,” as prescribed under Presidential Decree 910 issued on March 22, 1976, Creating the Energy Development Board, Defining its Powers and Functions, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes.

The DOE has a P3.31 billion budget proposal for 2015. In addition, some Php974.309 million sourced from the fees and revenues collected from the exploration, development and exploitation of energy resources shall be used to finance energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects.

Petilla pointed out that the Malampaya Power Project will have a problem on the occasion that pirates attack the facility.

“If some pirates prick this, it will be a problem,” the DOE Secretary stated.

Petilla said the DND has came up with a proposal on securing the Malampaya Project.

“…The DND is proposing something else. We have our forces in the WPS, because Malampaya at that point remains to some extent unprotected or likely protected,” he said.

A lawmaker asked Petilla, if the Malampaya funds could be used by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) to acquire generator sets for the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi areas.

He replied that he has previously backed the purchase of gen sets.

About Php2.8 billion of the Malampaya funds were already released for programs such as “Pantawid Pasada,” additional fuel for Napocor’s Small Public Utilities Group (SPUG) areas to build, and Hamilton cutters to guard the WPS.

Previously, National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said that the remaining Php137 billion from the Malampaya fund is still intact.