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The House Committee on Energy on Thursday formed a technical working group (TWG) to discuss the proposal to pursue the development of the country’s natural gas industry, which is a legislative priority of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

In his opening remarks, committee chair and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco said the priority legislative measure would provide a framework for the development of the natural gas industry in its transition from an emerging to a mature industry, promote a competitive natural gas market and define responsibilities of various government agencies and private entities in furtherance of the national goal.

Velasco said the Philippines still lacks a clear, comprehensive and integrated legislative framework that would serve as a pillar toward achieving the rapid development of the country’s natural gas sector.

“The lack of such clear policies is detrimental to the thrust of the Department of Energy to attract foreign investors to invest in our natural gas potentials or importation or transmission of the same,” he said in the bill’s explanatory note.

He said the passage of the bill would promote natural gas as a safe, environment-friendly, efficient and cost-effective source of energy.

It would also create favorable conditions to establish a natural gas industry serving all segments of the nation’s population in different sectors of the economy, he noted.

He said the bill would promote the development of the Philippines as a liquefied natural gas trading and transshipment hub within the Asia-Pacific region.

The panel held initial deliberation on eight measures, seven of which would promote the development of the Philippine downstream natural gas industry, while the other proposal would provide for the national energy policy and framework for the development and regulation of the Philippine midstream natural gas industry.

The panel nominated Committee on Energy Vice Chair and SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta to head the TWG. (PNA)