ENERGY Secretary Jericho Petilla has revealed that they are seeking the intervention of the Supreme Court to allow them to use a portion of the Malampaya fund to secure the facilities of the Malampaya Power Project in the West Philippine Sea.
He noted that the power project facilities are so vulnerable and open for possible attacks by various lawless elements or terror groups who might want to control or just inflict damage to the area.
Malampaya is a natural gas field located in the West Philippine Sea, off northwest Palawan, and is being operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. with joint venture partners among them Chevron Malampaya LLC and Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) Exploration Corporation.
Petilla pointed out that while the Department of National Defense (DND) has came up with a proposal on how to secure the area, the same could not be implemented due to insufficient fund.
“The DND is proposing something else. We have our forces in the West Philippine Sea, but because Malampaya remains unprotected if some pirates decide to launch an attack, it will be a problem,” he said.
The Malampaya fund was created for the purpose of financing energy resource exploration, development and exploitation programs and projects of the government.
To help the DND in carrying out its proposal to secure the project, Petilla is asking the SC to allow them to use parts of the multi- billion Malampaya fund for security purposes.
The DOE was earlier forced to stop all activities not directly under so-called resource developments programs, after the High Court decided that Malampaya fund could not be used for purposes other those related to energy explorations and developments.
Because of this, the DOE has asked the court to review its ruling and clarify the terminologies under energy resource development and exploitation.
To emphasize his point, Petilla told the House Committee on Appropriations that about P2.8 billion of the Malampaya fund had been released for other non-energy related programs.
Among these are the “Pantawid Pasada,” that provides additional fuel for small public utilities drivers and for the purchase of Hamilton cutters to guard the WPS.
Reports showed that in February last year, the Malampaya consortium paid the government $1.1 billion in royalties from the deepwater gas-to-power project.
According to National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon, the remaining P137 billion from the Malampaya fund is still intact.
At least 40 percent of Luzon’s power generation requirements supplied by three power plants with a combined capacity of 2,700 megawatts are being fed by the natural gas from Malampaya.