Aquino to receive emergency powers


ADMINISTRATION ally Sen. Ralph Recto on Monday warned that President Benigno Aquino 3rd faces the risk of shouldering all the blame and the wrath of the people should he be given emergency powers but fails to address the imminent power shortage next year.

Recto said he is inclined on supporting the proposal to grant Aquino special authority to properly address the looming energy problem.

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City and House energy panel chairperson Reynaldo Umali said flexible emergency powers are being readied for the President.

According to Umali, the joint resolution that will grant the emergency authority to Aquino will allow him to tap Interruptible Load Program (ILP) sources, as well as lease, if not purchase, additional power generator sets.

The ILP is a scheme wherein malls and big companies with large standby generation capacity will not get power supply from power plants and instead run their own generator sets.

“I’m inclined to support the President, but I will also listen to the argument of Sen. Sergio Osmeña ” Recto told reporters.

Osmeña, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, remains unsupportive of the request of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla for Congress to grant Aquino extra powers.

The Department of Energy, in a five-page draft joint resolution submitted to the Senate energy committee last week, cited several options the President can take to avert the looming power crisis.

The options include the purchase or rental of additional power generators to boost the supply of electricity and the tapping of self-generating facilities though the ILP and the purchase self-generating facilities or backup generators for the period covered under the ILP.

The government will be authorized to reimburse the fuel expenses of owners who would join the ILP.

Petilla noted that the proposal is aimed at addressing the expected shortage of about 900 megawatts next year.

But Osmeña insisted that there is no need for Congress to grant the President special powers since the country has sufficient power reserves.

According to him, Luzon currently has 3,163 megawatts owned by companies that use it as back-up power.

“And if you take into consideration that the peak demand in the Meralco (Manila electric Company) franchise area is 5,200-5,300MW, it’s like you have a reserve of 60%,” he explained.

Recto however said that he is not comfortable with the proposal to rely on the ILP since the country has never tried the program before.


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