MANILA – The impending power crisis set to happen next year will only favor power plant owners, according to Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, especially with the new joint resolution.
Recently, the House of Representatives has approved Joint Resolution No. 21 that gives the President special powers to address power shortage next year. The said resolution also allows the President to bypass regulations that aim to protect the environment.
According to Colmenares, this will only benefit the owners of coal- or biomass-fired power plants. He identified the said plants and owners which include: 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant in Subic Freeport, Zambales province, owned by the consortium of Aboitiz Power Corp., Manila Electric Co. and Taiwan Cogen Corp.;135-MW Puting Bato coal plant of South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. owned by Ayala Corp. and Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp.; twin 150-MW plant in Calaca, Batangas of DMCI Holdings’ South Luzon Power Generation; 2-MW biomass-fired plant of San Jose City Power Corp.;12.5-MW rice husk-fired plant of Bataan 2020 Inc.; and 20-MW biomass plant of Isabela Biomass Corp.
The key provision in the joint resolutions that suspend environmental laws allowed the President to give a go ahead for big and dirty power plants to harm the environment.
“During the effectivity of the President’s special powers from March to July next year, ‘all national government agencies and local government units are hereby authorized to suspend the operability of pertinent laws, rules and regulations including, but not limited to, mitigating measures adopted for the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the Biofuels Act, the Clean Air Act, the Philippine Grid Code, the Philippine Distribution Code, that may affect the operation and transmission of the contracted generation capacities under this Joint Resolution, to ensure the timely commissioning and utilization thereof,’” the resolution said.
Colmenares stressed that we should do all things to protect the environment given the country’s susceptibility to supertyphoons. He cited typhoons “Yolanda” and “Ruby” as an effect of climate change.
“It is best tha we must do all we can to protect the environment and not add to its destruction,” said Colmenares.
Meanwhile, energy committee chair and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali believes that the President will not abuse his powers in favor of big power firms.
“The resolution demands that power be immediately available within the crisis period and this exempts power plants that would operate after the risks,” Umali said during a press conference.