Olongapo City avoided a power outage following the Department of Energy’s decision to suspend the power disconnection of the city from the national grid because of Olongapo’s pending P5-billion electric bill debt to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, it was learned on Wednesday.
In a statement, Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun of Zambales disclosed that the Energy department reached such decision during a meeting between Khonghun, Mayor Rolen Paulino of Olongapo, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and President Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. held at the Energy department’s main office in Taguig City on Tuesday.
Psalm is the authorized agency under the Department of Energy that deals with the privatization of NGCP.
“We would like to thank Secretary Petilla for his understanding and Psalm President Ledesma for setting another meeting later this week to further discuss the debt restructuring proposal submitted by the new local administration,” Khonghun said.
The P5-billion debt was incurred by Olongapo during the nine-year long term of former-Mayor James Gordon Jr.
“Our initial meeting with our DOE officials went well. This is a work in progress. We were able to convey to Secretary Petilla that Olongapo is not running away from this obligation,” Khonghun pointed out.
“Our predecessors will have to account for this big mess that they left behind. If we have removed and punished a sitting Chief Justice for merely failing to declare all his assets in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities, we can’t allow someone who cannot explain why a whopping P5 billion worth of the people’s hard-earned money were never remitted to the power distribution firm,” Khonghun stressed.