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Use Malampaya Fund solely for energy

/ 12:25 AM October 18, 2013

The demand for oil and other fuels will double by 2035, experts say. This is why forward-looking countries are now scouring the earth and its seas for energy sources in anticipation of possible future shortage. They are investing heavily in oil exploration and researches on alternative sources of energy.

What are we doing to ensure our country’s energy security? Are we not sitting on Nature’s blessings like the Malampaya Fund and squandering the opportunity to solve the nation’s power problem?

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The Malampaya Fund, specifically mandated for energy development, was shrouded from public view for almost a decade. And now it is in danger of disappearing from government coffers.

While the heat is on the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, devious minds must now be busy working on novel ways to access the “elephant” fund, to use Sen. Ralph Recto’s term. Said to be growing in billions yearly, the Malampaya Fund is now an attractive magnet for greed.

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As a businessperson and household consumer of electricity, I experience the horror of being handed the monthly Meralco bills. It feels like Shylock is at my door, out to slice a pound of my flesh. For no matter how glibly explained, the cost of electricity in this country is excessively high. It scares investors of job-generating industries which are what we need to address our worsening unemployment problem. But this is the lesser evil.

The criminal part is: While most of us are suffering from chronic brownouts and destructive power outages, the Malampaya Fund has been sitting idle, siphoned only into the wrong pockets for political exigencies. The improvidence and callousness of governance are grossly apparent here and it really hurts the economy and the majority of the population.

If President Aquino wants to leave a lasting legacy to the Filipino people, he can exercise his political will by using the Malampaya Fund exclusively for energy development and lowering the cost of power before the global race for inclusive growth leaves us behind. Realigning the fund for various purposes, as in a shotgun approach, might dwindle the fund into nothingness. But if he shepherds the fund into full activity and for the purpose originally intended, it will be his ultimate statement in decisiveness.

—EVA MAGGAY-INCIONG,

BF Homes, Quezon City

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TAGS: energy security, fuels, Malampaya Fund, Meralco bills, oil
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