'Emergency powers for PNoy will send wrong signal'

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2014 06:56 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2014 03:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines - There is no problem with the supply of electricity, thus there is no need to give President Aquino "emergency powers" to address the issue of high power rates, according to several lawmakers and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

Petilla dismissed the idea of granting the President emergency powers.

"It will create more problems than solutions. It will send a wrong signal to investors," Petilla said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said giving Aquino emergency powers is "dangerous."

"Dangerous ang power na yan walang basis at walang emergency," he said.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said there is no need for emergency powers, since the problem has to do with power rates than supply.

Senate Energy Committee Serge Osmena said what is needed is "emergency thinking" and not "emergency power."

Senator Sonny Angara has suggested the government hasten the construction of more power plants to prevent future spikes in power rates.

Senator JV Ejercito wants an energy masterplan from Malacanang.

Senate president pro tempore Ralph Recto asked Malacanang to quickly submit proposed legislation to amend the Electricity Power Industry Reform Act.

But instead of being discouraged due to the overwhelming opposition to his proposal, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said he will still file a bill granting not one but two separate emergency powers to President Aquino. One to solve the power problem and the other to address the worsening traffic in Metro Manila.

But the Makabayan bloc warned consumers will be at a disadvantage in the long run if President Aquino is given extra powers to solve the electricity woes.

The group recalled former President Fidel Ramos was also given emergency powers to address the shortage of electricity supply in the 90s. But while many plants were constructed, part of the deal was to pay even for electricity produced but not consumed, which further pushed prices up and haunted consumers for many years.