Lawmaker calls for revamp of DOE, PNOC

AMID increasing power rates and impending oil price hikes, Party list Rep. Teddy Casiño today called for the revamp of the Department of Energy, the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) and other agencies directly involved in the power and energy industry.

Casiño said the power shortages in Mindanao, the looming energy crisis in Luzon and the recurrent increase in the prices of petroleum products are glaring proofs that the executives of these agencies have failed miserably in their jobs.

“Most of these executives lack the knowledge and experience in handling energy matters while some are serving as stooges of the big players in the energy industry,” said the progressive solon.

Casiño particularly cited DOE Secretary Jose Almendras, who was a top executive of Ayala and Aboitiz companies and DOE Undersecretary Jose Layug who was a legal counsel of Chevron before they joined the government service.

“How can you expect Sec. Almendras to strictly supervise and regulate the oil companies and the suppliers of power and energy whose interest they used to manage and promote?” the lawmaker added.

He also said that Pres. Aquino should not have appointed Sec. Almendras in an energy sector related office and that both officials should have declined their appointments to avoid possible conflict of interest.

PNOC President Antonio Cailao was also singled out by Casiño as among those who should be replaced for questionable actuations including his favorable treatment of Shell and Chevron in the Malampaya venture. PNOC Pres. Cailao proposed the extension of the Malampaya contract by another 13 years and even supported the US1$ Billion expense for building two new oil well heads.

Bayan Muna has persistently been advocating thoroughgoing reforms in the power and energy sector and had filed bills to repeal the EPIRA law and the Oil Deregulation Law.

It has criticized government actions in the energy sector that led to mounting debts and very high electricity rates that have become unaffordable to the consumers.

It has also been critical of the highly disadvantageous Malampaya Contract which grants big foreign oil firms billions of dollars in profit to the detriment of the Filipino people.

“We tried to give these officials the benefit of the doubt when they were appointed but it seems that they have the interests of the Big 3 and power companies at heart instead of the welfare of consumers,” said Casiño.

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