Petilla grilled over removal of budget for Bataan nuclear plant
MANILA, Philippines - During Tuesday's budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Energy Secretary Jericho Petillla said he is now open to a review of the oil deregulation law and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
But while Petilla agreed with several lawmakers' suggestion to take a look at the oil deregulation law, he cautioned congressmen that a regulated regime could mean going back to subsidy, which the government cannot afford.
On the issue of EPIRA, Petilla said he is open to the idea of government owning power plants again but only for emergency use.
"I like to believe there is something we can improve in the EPIRA, an amendment. A review is actually good," he said.
But the otherwise mundane hearing turned a bit tense, after Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco grilled Petilla on the removal of the P45-million maintenance budget of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Until the government decides to junk the nuclear plant, an executive order signed by former President Cory Aquino guarantees the facility's maintenance.
"I will move to defer the DOE budget in the floor is P50-M is not added to the preservation of the BNPP... I have a lot of congressmen behind me. Your budget will be gone," she said.
Cojuangco even called the budget department representative to explain the removal of the BNPP budget.
"Isn't it your job to ask? Maybe you should get your act together," Cojuangco said.
Petilla said he agrees with Cojuangco on the BNPP budget.
The BNPP was earlier pitched to boost supply in Luzon, but Petilla said it still needs further study and community acceptance.