Celso presides over DOE 2018 budget deliberations Print
Thursday, 24 August 2017 16:30

The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) and co-chaired by Congressman Celso Lobregat, deliberated on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its attached agencies which included the National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), and National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).

Energy officials led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi, requested a budget of P2,659,253,000, which is five percent or P1.33 million higher than the DOE’s current 2017 allocation of P2,657,918,000.

In his opening statement during the hearing presided by committee vice chairman Rep. Celso Lobregat, Cusi said the DOE’s budget will be used in delivering services to the Filipino people and in carrying out its mandate as provided by various laws such as the DOE Act, Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), Renewable Energy Law, Oil Deregulation Law, and Oil Exploration and Development Act.

“Our budget is a reflection of the energy sector’s alignment with the (Duterte) administration’s call for inclusive growth under ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040,” Cusi said.

“We look forward to your support in providing much-needed resources in ensuring a resilient energy sector which empowers the Filipino through relevant information under our ‘E-Power Mo: E-Safety Mo, E-Secure Mo, E-Diskarte Mo’ campaign,” Cusi said.

In his presentation, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said, the DOE’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 will be used to fund operations amounting to P1.87 billion, support for operations at P449 million, and general administration and support at P392 million.

He said the DOE’s legislative agenda and policy advocacies will focus on the amendment of retail rules for liquid fuels, passage of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas bill, and joint administrative order for the distribution and transportation of LPG cylinders, among others.

Lobregat said that the DOE should expedite its resources and research in maximizing the power generation in Mindanao, especially that the region frequently experiences power shortages the past months, including Zamboanga City.

The solon said that DOE should also consider his earlier recommendations on how to obtain a highly sustainable power supply in the region and in the country in general.

House members took turns raising various national and local issues and concerns that fall under the jurisdiction of the DOE.

Rep. Tom Villarin (Party-list, AKBAYAN) highlighted the issue of the promotion of renewable energy, particularly the households taking the lead role in the installation of solar rooftop panels.

“Mobilizing household-based participation for renewable energy can help reduce the cost of electricity in the country,” Villarin stressed.

Rep. Rosanna Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) expressed dismay over the small budget of the DOE, saying it is a disservice to the country. She said the DOE should have a bigger budget.

She also suggested to the DOE to categorize energy-generating plants, like hydro, bunker, and others, and provide ceiling in their cost to ensure that no one among these power plants make a huge amount of money at the expense of the consumers. She asked the agency to further study her proposal. (Dexter Yap/PR)