The plan of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to resign ostensibly because he failed to deliver in his promise to restore power in the areas hard hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda has met with two types of reactions.
Some quarters welcome his exit from the Department of Energy, saying that he has no option but to leave, out of delicadeza. After all, he did make a public declaration that his department would have electricity restored in Tacloban and its environs by Christmas Day. Such a promise could not be kept considering the scale of the devastation inflicted on central Visayas by Yolsanda.
In other words, he should have kept his mouth shut and simply cajoled all concerned parties to do what was necessary at the shortest time possible.
On the other side, there are those who believe that Petilla will be a hard man to replace, and that he as done as credible a job at the Energy department as is humanly possible.
Therefore, President Benigno Aquino 3rd should keep him in the Cabinet, and allow him to finish the tough job that he failed to complete in the short time that he gave himself.
To be honest, we have mixed feelings about Petilla.
We realize that his is no easy task. Being in charge of the country’s energy needs must qualify as one of the most important posts in the Cabinet. Without sufficient power, the Philippine economy will not go anywhere.
Whether Petilla goes or is convinced to stay on in the Aquino Cabinet, there are some things that we would like to see in the DOE, foremost of which is the creation and implementation of strategies that will guarantee the country of sufficient power supplies, not just in the near term but in the mid- to long-term as well.
For now, we are not aware that there is such a strategy being followed.
The country does not simply need energy. It needs a steady supply of clean energy at the lowest possible cost that will not break down every so often.
Time and again, it has been pointed out that the Philippines has one of the highest energy costs in the region. Foreign investors are well aware of this, and this is one reason that other countries are able to invite more global investments than the Philippines.
This being the case, what does the DOE plan in order to bring down power costs to more acceptable levels?
Power outages a.k.a. brownouts remain one of the biggest banes to economic growth. Does the Energy department have any plan in place that would forever end this scourge to the economy, as well as the daily life of the typical Filipino family?
Whoever handles the DOE in 2014 and after must be able to show a workable energy plan to the people. Jericho Petilla did not quite succeed in this, which is why there is no widespread call for him to stay in his post.
Still, if he is given a second chance, then he should take greater efforts to convince the public that he knows what he is doing, and that the country’s energy needs remain in good hands.