MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday called for an investigation into frequent brownouts in Palawan, a world-renowned tourist destination.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, filed Senate Resolution No. 470 to initiate a legislative inquiry, finding "shallow" the National Electrification Administration's (NEA) investigation into the matter.
The resolution also calls for an inspection on the compliance of the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) with the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, as well as the performance of the NEA.
The senator said that during the first half of 2017, Palawan suffered an average of 13 hours of brownouts in 10 power interruptions per month.
A top tourist spot in the country, Palawan, specifically capital Puerto Princesa, has been plagued by successive brownouts in recent months.
"The Senate must exercise its oversight powers to hold stakeholders accountable and finally put an end to this mess," said Gatchalian in a statement.
"The longer these brownouts continue, the more the Palawan tourism industry will suffer," he added.
Gatchalian said during a meeting held by the Senate energy committee with PALECO, NEA, and private energy stakeholders earlier this month, it was found that brownouts in Puerto Princesa were caused by DMCI Power Corporation's failure to provide sufficient power.
Gatchalian noted that the NEA investigated the power outages but did not recommend disciplinary measures or penalties against PALECO for failing to immediately resolve the issue. Instead, the agency passed such task to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).