MANILA – The Senate received on Wednesday a letter from President Benigno S. Aquino III certifying as urgent a joint Congress resolution granting the Chief Executive special powers to address the looming power shortage in the summer of 2015.
In a letter referred to the Senate Committee on Rules, the President said the immediate passage of Joint Resolution No. 21 “will adequately resolve this emergency through the expeditious acquisition of additional power generating capacities to be used during the anticipated period of deficient energy supply.”
The joint resolution will authorize the President to provide for the establishment of additional generating capacity as mandated by Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
The President said there is a need to address “an imminent energy crisis brought about by several factors such as El Nino phenomenon, Malampaya plant shutdown and prevalent outages of existing power plants, among others.”
”The critical energy situation will pause tangible threat to the country’s developing economy and will hinder the delivery of basic social services to the detriment of the general welfare of the people,” the President added.
Despite certification from Malacanang, Senate Committee on Energy chairman Senator Sergio Osmena III remains hesitant to grant the President special powers.
”There is no need for it. If there’s a need for it, I will be the first to know that we need that but right now, we don’t need. We don’t need to purchase, we don’t need to lease. So what special powers they have been asking for?” Osmena said.
Osmena said there are other solutions to address power shortage like the interruptible load program (ILP) and encouraging the public to join energy conservation.
The Senate has only two weeks to discuss the joint resolution before it goes on Christmas break on Dec. 17.