MANILA - House Speaker Prospero C. Nograles is not amenable to giving President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo an emergency power to solve the Mindanao energy crisis but to avail of other remedies allowed under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.
His position coheres with the statement of Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile who said that the issue of quorum is primary obstacle in convening Congress, which has the sole authority to give the President emergency power.
Congress adjourned sine die in the first week of February to way to the official start of the 2010 political campaign.
“Many of our senators,” Nograles emphasized, “are either running for re-election or are seeking other elective posts. This is the same case with our congressmen so it would not be easy to hold a special session now even if the leadership of both houses are ready and willing to oblige.”
And even if there would be a quorum, the Speaker expressed reservation whether the senators would agree to imbue the President with emergency power solely for the purpose of addressing the aggravating energy crisis in Southern Philippines.
Instead of buck-passing, the House leadership instead suggested that for the power crisis to be removed “all the red tapes and stringent terms of reference to allow private investors to come in and invest in power generation,’ adding that this is “the quickest fix to our power crisis in Mindanao.”
Earlier, he also said that granting special powers to the President in order to address the power problem is not needed because the 2010 national budget already carries a P500-million emergency fund in anticipation of possible power woes arising from weather disturbances.
“The power crisis in Mindanao,” the Speaker noted, “was already foreseen by the National Power Corporation as early as 2006.”
The emergency fund, it was learned, was appropriated to the National Electrification Administration in the 2010 General Appropriations Act, adding that with a ready contingency fund the government is “now studying the feasibility of deploying two 30 MW generators to mitigate the power crisis brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.”
He also cited the utmost significance of sufficient power supply given the fact that there will be a national election on May 10, 2010.