President Aquino tours and views the exhibit on the promotion and advancement of solutions and initiatives on energy efficiency during the Energy Smart Philippines (ESPhil) 2014 in Pasay City (MNS photo)

President Aquino tours and views the exhibit on the promotion and advancement of solutions and initiatives on energy efficiency during the Energy Smart Philippines (ESPhil) 2014 in Pasay City (MNS photo)

MANILA, Oct 13 (Mabuhay) – Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares on Monday criticized President Aquino for allegedly coercing the House of Representatives and the Senate to immediately grant him emergency powers to address the looming power crisis in 2015.

Colmenares alleged that the President is now passing the blame over the expected power crisis to lawmakers.

“It seems that Pres. Aquino is now trying to pass the buck on the supposed power crisis to the lawmakers while covering up for his Cabinets’ ‘noynoying’ and inefficiency. Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla said as of the last week of May that there is enough power supply for 2015 and even for 2016. Then by July he said that there would be a 400 megawatts deficit in power supply and recently claimed the deficit may reach up to 900-1000MW. The DOE has not fully established the basis of this predicted deficit. Now they are threatening both the Congress and the people just to get emergency powers,” said the senior deputy minority leader.

Colmenares noted that the joint resolution for emergency powers has not been publicly submitted to the House Committee on Energy.

Papaano aaralin mabuti ang resolusyon na ito samantalang parang pinagkakatago-tago nila tapos mamadalin nila kami na ipasa ang emergency powers ng ganun na lang? Mukhang may makikinabang ng malaki sa emergency powers na ito kaya ganun na lang ang pagmamadali nila para dito,” he said.

Colmenares also alleged that the joint resolution entails the “legalization of sweetheart deals and take or pay contracts, it will also be an excuse for government to use tax payers’ money to rehabilitate, repair and improve plants that are owned by the project sector.”

“The budget for these emergency powers will also be sourced from the Malampaya funds and inevitably from the consumers through the universal charges,” he said.

Colmenares again stressed the need to repeal the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of. 2001, which he believes is the first step to solve a possible energy problem.

“We oppose emergency powers for Pres. Aquino precisely because not only has Sec. Petilla failed to prove the claimed lack of supply, but also because this short-sighted band aid solution will increase the cost of electricity and will not assure stable energy supply. We need long term solutions, not short term magic tricks,” the solon said.

“There is only one and only one solution to our energy problem and that is for the government to fund and build power plants. But the first step toward this solution is to repeal EPIRA now,” he added.

Under Sec. 71 of the EPIRA, the President can declare a crisis situation upon determining an impending deficit in supply and seek Congressional authority to initiate moves to boost supply.

The President earlier assured energy investors that his call for Congress to grant him emergency powers to deal with a possible power crisis will not affect the market.

He said requesting for a joint resolution authorizing the national government to contract additional generating capacity “is to make sure our economy does not lose its momentum in the event of an energy shortage.”

“I am aware that investors in the energy sector are worried about these measures distorting the market, but let me assure you: government intervention is meant only to address the shortage,” he said.(MNS)