Senator JV Ejercito is asking Secretary Jericho Petilla to shape up or ship out as Energy Secretary. This is amid the growing incidence of emergency power shutdowns.
Ejercito said it is high time for the government to face the nation’s woes. “The government cannot continue its penchant of blaming the previous administration for inheriting their problems. They cannot blame Gloria Arroyo forever,” he said.
“Hence, if Secretary Petilla cannot remedy the power situation, it is best for him to consider giving up his Cabinet post and allow someone with technical capability to manage the Energy sector,” Ejercito, as member of the Senate Energy Committee said.
He said the problem with the Department of Energy is that most of the appointed officials lack technical knowledge on energy generation. “By the time they grasp the technical work or solution to a crisis, it’s usually already too late,” Ejercito said.
“Last year, we witnessed Petilla’s incapacity firsthand as a technocrat and Energy Secretary when he decided not to run the Malaya power plant. That was the height of the power shortage in Luzon, which caused the spike in power rates last December,” he added.
The minority senator said the country is in dire need of a comprehensive energy plan that would provide long term solutions to the critical power situation.
“I am very alarmed over the country’s inadequate power supply and its high cost because this may eventually cascade into a ‘doomsday’ scenario in power failure,” Ejercito said.
He cited the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) report, which says the Philippines has the second-highest electricity rates in Asia.
“Electricity is so pricey here in the Philippines. This is a major roadblock for foreign investment from coming in the country. Secretary Petilla and the executive need to address this alarming power situation, or else the economic gains being boasted by the administration will become futile,” Sen. Ejercito said.
He also urged the government to listen to the business community’s prodding for security in national power supply and competitive electricity rates that would attract foreign investment in the country and sustain economic growth.
May 25, 2014
Reference: Rikki Mathay [(02) 552-66-01]