• Malacañang should now start the process on EPIRA amendment


    Malacañang should now start working on amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) following its admission that the 13-year-old law is defective.

    Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, said that the Palace should now lead the bringing of the private sector and the government together to work on Epira amendments in order to make the law more beneficial to all stake holders.

    “I strongly urge the Aquino administration to put together a very high level of private-and-public group, both executive and legislative, to work on the amendments of the EPIRA,” Cayetano said.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday admitted that the Epira law is defective because some of its provisions run in contrasts with intent of the law.

    But Cayetano said that if Malcañang really wants something to be done on Epira it has to act this year and immediately organize a high-level summit to discuss possible reforms on the law.

    According to the senate majority leader, when Mindanao experienced a power shortage last 2012 the government immediately called for a Mindanao summit to discuss and come up with solution to the problem.

    He said there is no reason for Malacañang not do the same for the Epira amendments and they should act now instead of waiting for the natural procedure in congress.

    Cayetano explained that while congress has the sole authority to amend the law, it still needs a push from the executive in order to expedite the drafting of amendments.

    No Need to amend

    Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, on the other hand said that he sees nothing wrong with Epira and the only problem is that the government failed to implement the law properly.

    He said the government should instead focus on how to implement the law correctly because based on his study the Epira law is good as it is.

    “We need to look into the implementation of the EPIRA because that is where the problem is particularly on the Energy Regulatory Commission  (ERC),” Trillanes added but he did not elaborate.

    Under Section 43 of the Epira, the ERC is tasked to promote competition, encourage market development, ensure customer choice and penalize abuse of market power in the electricity industry.

    But based on the what happened during the maintenance shutdown of Malapaya power plant last year, the ERC, which was created by Epira, failed to perform its mandate. Jefferson Antiporda


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