Yes, important issues such as this that demands clear and immediate explanation calls for a glaring title.
Early today, June 1, I’ve come across an online article from ABS-CBN.com that says, “Malampaya funds reach P168-B.”
Alas, the national government is very happy and quick in counting our money!
Imagine yourself reading this in the middle of a dark, unbearably hot evening—just like the days and evenings before—because of this “power shedding” the residents of Palawan are suffering for the past months or so.
The article actually talks about the P 210 billion that the Malampaya Natural Gas to Power Project has already generated since the beginning of its operation. Out of this, the government has already made a total of P42 billion expenditures, leaving a net fund of P 168 billion.
This alone needs clarification from Bureau of Treasury Director Domick Mariano, who pulled off this number at the House of Representatives Committee on Energy because as early as November 2011, Department of Energy (DOE) already gave a figure of P228.45 billion. We are looking at 18.45 billion pesos discrepancy here, people, and money that big are too bulky to disappear in thin air.
There was no mention of the province Palawan. It was not clear if from the abovementioned amount, Palawan’s supposed share was already set aside for distribution, or for the freezing until the issue of jurisdiction is finally settled at the Supreme Court.
The fund is currently managed by the Department of Finance with the primary intention of funding energy-related projects. But currently, a House Bill is proposing the use of Malampaya fund “for the rehabilitation or replacement of emergency infrastructures in preparation for an in response to natural and man-made calamities.”
The bill, if approved, will cover generation, transmission and distributions facilities. Hoping perhaps to avoid further Napoles-like fund pilferage and dirty distribution slash connivance with allies in the government as if their ancestors fossilized the sea beds of Palawan themselves, the bill also aims to create an energy development board to handle the fund.
Too many plans, too many “noble” projects benefitting who knows who, too many hands wanting to take part in slicing the pie, while the people of Palawan are tortured all summer long because of this incompetence packaged in a nice little verb called “power-shedding.”
As the joke goes on, “mabuti pa si Luy at si Tuazon (Napoles’ aids), may “share” sa Malampaya funds.”
And it is as if both the government and the people forgot that this project that will light the whole Luzon for the next 20 years, is a gift endowed by God to this province that suffers power outage on daily basis.
The people of Palawan need to know: what happens to the Malampaya fund? How can we benefit from it? With that amount, and suppose the province receives its rightful 40 percent share, surely it can fire up to provide our electricity needs, and more, to welcome prospective investors that will establish business in Palawan, which translates to jobs, services, in other words, better lives. But it seems as if the people grew tired of asking.
However, we need to ask. We need to participate. Make the province be heard and counted on issues and decisions involving the use of the fund. Our government owes it to the people of Palawan especially after these frustrating power outages.
And let us not end there. We need to remind the national government that resolution must be made immediately so that we can begin funding more projects to better the lives of the people in the very near future. Aanhin mo pa ang damo kung na heatstroke na ang kabayo?