Several board members want the provincial government to resurrect efforts to obtain a share of the Malampaya natural gas proceeds.
In spite of a previous Supreme Court ruling that denied Palawan’s legal share of the offshore gas project, they believe that the national government should be persuaded to allocate funds to the province.
In a privilege speech, Board member Ryan Maminta pointed out that the Supreme Court’s 2018 and 2020 decisions on the cases filed by the provincial government included a provision stating that Palawan can still seek financial assistance from the national government based on the project’s proceeds.
“In the decision for the motion for reconsideration, there are provisions that may open new avenues for the province of Palawan to once again claim assistance from the national government out of the revenues of Malampaya,” Maminta said.
“Part of the dispositive portion of the decision states that ‘moving forward, any share that the congress may allot for the province of Palawan will purely be an act of political discretion’,” he noted, adding that the provision opens a window for the province to get an allotment from the Malampaya gas proceeds.
He also explained that if the province receives a portion of the project’s proceeds, it will be a significant boost given that its budget for 2023 was drastically reduced.
Maminta added that they will discuss potential actions with the three congressmen of the province.
“Because the act will be a political decision, what we need to do now is ask our congressmen to study and find out possible ways for us to get an allotment,” he said.
While a specific amount has not yet been determined, he stated that if there are grants, they will be allocated primarily for energy and agriculture.
“What we want now is for this to move and in case we can negotiate with the national government on how much can be allotted to the provincial government, maybe that’s the time we can think of an amount,” he explained.
Board member Ariston Arzaga, on the other hand, believes it is time for the provincial government to assert its claims for Malampaya shares once more.
As a result of the calamities and pandemic that have struck, as well as the budget cut, he stated that additional funding will “certainly have a significant effect on the province.”
“Kaya hindi kami tumigil na mag-isip na halukayin uli yung ating karapatan sa Malampaya,” Arzaga said.
Meanwhile, board member Winston Arzaga suggested that since they will be in Manila for the Provincial Board Members League convention, they should meet with the province’s congressmen to discuss the matter with House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
“I think all of these will be dependent on them,” he said.