• Palace open to amending EPIRA

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    Malacañang is open to amending the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001, which has been blamed for skyrocketing power rates in the country.

    In a press conference, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte admitted that the government is not allowed to run its own power plants because of the EPIRA.

    But she said that the President has already directed all concerned agencies to find ways to bring down power costs.

    “The EPIRA prevents government from being a power generator,” Valte said. “While you believe the executive [department]has so much perceived power, we are limited by what the law says. There is no magic wand to wave.”

    “But it’s a cause of concern. The President has already given instructions to relevant agencies to see what they can do,” she added

    Valte said that the Palace is now studying the gist of bills on the issue that are presently pending in Congress.

    She said that  the government will also have to scrutinize various suggested solutions before it can get fully on board.

    “We look at the stage they are in and we look at the meat of the proposal,” she said, adding these will be considered when the appropriate Cabinet clusters propose measures to be part of the priority list.

    Meanwhile, Valte said that there are still no plans yet to convene the Legislative –Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

    She noted that a Technical Working Group (TWG) that works under the LEDAC meets continuously.

    “Because of the good relationship that the President has with both leaders of Congress, naco-communicate naman iyong mga ganitong bagay [these are easily communicated],” she said

    “Well, at least, for the President, it’s the good relationship that he has that ferries these bills through. Even last year, if you go by the numbers, we had a good number of substantial bills that were passed, at least the ones that have been identified as priority,” Valte added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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