By Sammy F. Martin
MANILA, Oct. 13 (PNA) — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday said that they need to pass a new law before the government can tap the Malampaya funds to address the projected power deficiency next year.
Recto, a member of the Senate committee on Energy, said the other remedy to address the problem is by inserting a provision to tap the Malampaya funds in the joint resolution giving President Benigno S. Aquino III the needed emergency power to avoid possible rotational brownout come summer of 2015.
His reaction is based on the statement made by Senator Sergio Osmena III, chairman of the Senate committee on Energy, that the government can tap the Malampaya fund to be used as subsidy because its fund is for energy exploration based on the recent decision made by the Supreme Court.
Recto said that if this provision is inserted in the joint resolution giving emergency powers to President Aquino, the Chief Executive can then tap Php25 billion to Php40 billion from the Malampaya fund.
He clarified that this is the actual cash fund of Malampaya which is now deposited with the Bureau of Treasury and not P140 billion as earlier reported.
“The funds should not be abused,” Recto told reporters saying that it should be used only to arrest the looming power crisis.
For now, he said that it is not yet clear if they will buy or rent generator sets if the government can tap the Malampaya fund.
Recto said that he is ready to support the granting of emergency powers to the President but the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should provide a clear guideline that the funds will only be used to avoid the projected power shortage in the summer of 2015. (PNA)