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If Petilla can do it, why can’t the others?

10:15 PM December 30, 2013

The news that Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla tendered his resignation for his failure to meet his self-imposed deadline in restoring electricity in areas ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” is all over the air. The President may have ultimately refused to accept his resignation and whether or not that was part of a ploy, it can nevertheless be said that Petilla had the guts to place his head on the chopping board.

We wonder, however, if the other inept officials in the energy family, particularly Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Zenaida Ducut and Philippine Electricity Market Corp. head Mel Ocampo can do the same.

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As head of the Department of Energy, Petilla is equally responsible for the government’s failure to stop the P4.15/kWh rate increase imposed by Meralco. But Ducut and Ocampo, who are in the frontline and supposed to be the first persons to detect market failure and to protect consumers’ welfare, stood idle in the face of the onrushing tsunami of power hikes. They therefore should go.

Truth is, throughout their tenures, they have consistently failed to discharge their duties of regulating the power industry properly. The latest fiasco is just the culmination of years of ineptitude and incompetence.

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As early as 2012, they were already supposedly aware of scheduled maintenance shutdowns and yet they did nothing to prevent the largest market failure in the power sector. In the process they unduly enriched independent power producers  to the tune of P10 billion for a month’s worth of power outages!

They should resign based on the principle of command responsibility. At the least, they allowed the electricity market to be gamed, and therefore it can be said that they are a party to the reported collusion among power firms.

Ducut and Ocampo should be investigated for possible charges of economic sabotage.

It’s also time for the regime of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act to go.

—WILSON FORTALEZA,

PM, convenor of Nagkaisa,

LOUIE CORRAL, TUCP Party List,

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convenor of Nagkaisa

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TAGS: Electricity, Energy, Jericho Petilla, power rate hike, Yolanda
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