MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang will study a proposal by Congress to grant emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino to help him address the power crisis in Mindanao.
Energy Secretary Jose Almendras is open to the possibility, but cautioned that solving the problem will take time.
A number of legislators made the proposal for emergency powers to the President.
One of the proposals is for the government to take over power barges and prevent a spike in electricity rates.
Malacañang is non-committal, saying it would first have to study the proposal once it is filed in Congress.
Almendras also said he is meeting with congressional leaders to thresh out what kind of power will the President need to address the situation.
He, however, clarified that even if Aquino is granted special powers, it would still take time to solve the power shortage.
He mentioned the time needed to build additional power plants.
Despite this, the President painted a positive picture of the overall situation in the country in an attempt to attract investors.
"We have put an end to business as usual and proclaimed a country open for real business," he said.
Aquino cited gains in the economic front and the fight against corruption, but admitted that investors are turned off by the high cost of electricity, forcing them to move business operations elsewhere.
"One of the dreams that I had was how to get manufacturing back to the country. We had problems in the prices of electricity. We are working on that," he said.
Demand for electricity in the Philippines is projected to reach 15,400 megawatts by 2030.
The country's current capacity is only at 5,000 megawatts, while approved service contracts amount to 7,067 megawatts.
Pending applications reach 3,771 megawatts.
The President is optimistic that the demand can be met through the government's renewable energy program.
"Together with the installed capacity of about 5,000 [MW], there seems to be a clear path already to attaining that needed energy by 2030, even in the next perhaps 3 to 4 or 5 years," he said "So we will be ready when that demand comes in and hopefully, the increased generation capacity will be the factor that will bring down the prices of electricity."
Aquino previously rejected proposals for him to seek emergency powers on the issue of rising oil prices.
For now, the Palace says the power situation is being addressed by the Department of Energy and stakeholders in Mindanao. - ANC