Members of the House of Representatives’ “power bloc” on Tuesday called for the extension of the Malampaya gas-to-power project to prevent a looming energy crisis.
During a virtual Kapihan ng Samahang Plaridel forum, Philreca Party-list Rep. Presley de Jesus said the Malampaya gas field northwest of Palawan plays a vital role in ensuring the country’s energy security and independence.
“Is it enough? That’s the question. Natural gas is very affordable and dependable. Energy independence would help us sustain our rapid development,” de Jesus said.
The Malampaya supply is expected to be depleted by 2027, while the contract for the project is set to expire in 2024.
Currently, it powers 30 percent of the country, especially Luzon, with natural, indigenous gas and accounts for 98 percent of domestic oil and gas production.
Apec Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc said the issue of energy security would have long-term repercussions that would go beyond the power industry.
Dagooc noted that the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has strained the global supply chain, which makes dependence on foreign fuel sources no longer sustainable.
“Energy security is a crucial factor in protecting and upholding our national sovereignty, so we can keep domestic economies running at full power,” he said.
Ako Padayon Party-list Rep. Adriano Ebcas warned that the country could face an acute power shortage unless the government quickly addresses these energy issues and rising demands.
“These power shortages can have far-reaching effects – from access to energy and high energy cost to livelihood, education, and of course, national security,” Ebcas said, adding that the power bloc has filed a resolution to review the country’s energy policies to help the country achieve energy independence.
House Resolution 1063 calls for a congressional inquiry on national security issues affecting energy security in the country and the implementation of national defense and security policies to attain an independent and sustainable energy supply, while also focusing on extending the life of the Malampaya plant.
“At a time when energy policy is increasingly influenced by geopolitical forces, it is crucial to ensure the country’s energy security at critical times and to limit the Philippines’ dependence on other countries for its energy supply,” the resolution read.
Recoboda Party-list Rep. Godofredo Guya said close collaboration between the public and private sector is of prime importance, especially when it comes to effective energy exploration and development.
“Now is not the time to get carried away with legal battles. We must tap the private and public sector to improve capacity and supply, and attract more investors,” Guya said. (PNA)