Trillanes wrong on Malampaya Fund
With all due respect, I differ with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s proposal to use the Malampaya Fund for the rehabilitation of facilities and infrastructure damaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” or as subsidy to bring down electricity rates during abnormal situations, such as that which the country has recently experienced.
That is too knee-jerk a reaction to these twin national “tragedies”—if I may call them so. One would least expect such a proposal to come from a so-called lawmaker of the land whose primary task is to make new laws—not to unmake old, still prudent, ones that, nonetheless, are just improperly implemented.
We can all agree that since time immemorial this country’s perennially skyrocketing electricity rates essentially owe from the continuing interplay of energy supply and demand. That is to say, there are simply not enough power producers to provide the electricity needs of our fast-expanding population. And so, the Malampaya Fund has been purposely and almost exclusively designated to enable government, or encourage the private sector, to put up additional power plants and/or explore newer energy alternatives—e.g., hydro, solar, wind or nuclear—such as has been continuously happening in other parts of the globe. Needless to say, we have miserably failed in this regard.
True, the related law allows the Malampaya Fund to be used for such other purposes as the president may see fit. The thing is, we have used the fund mostly, rather than secondarily, for such “other” purposes, in turn unduly compromising the essential needs for which it has been intended. Now, Trillanes wants to expand its use further? That, for me, is the surest recipe for making our future energy woes even worse.
Of course, energy boss Carlos Jericho Petilla—upon whom is vested the task to contain such woes—would hasten to say amen to Trillanes’ proposal! That would readily ease up his responsibility whenever electricity rates next rise to newer heights, since the Malampaya Fund would always be there to offer electricity consumers a ready subsidy. Then, alas, it’s probably high time to abolish the position of energy secretary and the Energy Regulatory Commission from the government’s organization chart.
On the other hand, barring corruption in the process, I think there is going to be enough funds, both from the national budget and from foreign sources, for Ping Lacson to reasonably complete the rehabilitation of the Yolanda-damaged Visayan provinces.
—RUDY L. CORONEL,
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