Senate panel proposes higher 2015 budget for DOE, ERC
MANILA, Philippines – Citing a looming power crisis in Luzon in 2015, a Senate finance subcommittee has recommended the approval of P150-million ($3.32-million*) increase in the Department of Energy (DOE) budget to promote energy sector innovation.
In his budget sponsorship speech on Tuesday, November 18, Senator Sergio Osmeña III, chair of Senate finance subcommittee "B," also recommended the approval of the proposed budget of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and 7 government corporations.
Osmeña, who chairs the Senate committee on energy, said the proposed P150-million increase in the DOE budget brings the proposed allotment to P3,469,772,000 ($76.90 million). This will be used in promoting alternative fuels and technologies development and utilization, energy efficiency, and conservation.
The subcommittee proposed a P70.3-million ($1.56-million) increase for Electric Power Industry Regulatory Services under the ERC budget, raising the proposed agency's budget to P477.3 million ($10.59 million).
The Senate subcommittee gave the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority a "caretaker budget" of only P40 million ($884,775.89) – far less than the original proposed budget of over P251 million ($5.55 million).
"The subcommittee believes that the economic zone in the Aurora province should only get 'maintenance budget' for FY (fiscal year) 2015 for its failure to bring its promised economic growth in the area," Osmeña said.
The subcommittee proposed a P100-million ($2.22-million) budget for the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (ZCSEZA) – half for subsidy and the other half for equity requirements of the ZCSEZA – less than half of the original proposed budget of P246,863,000 ($5.47 million).
It recommended the approval of the proposed 2015 budgets of the following:
- National Electrification Administration, P7,630,915,000 ($169.22 million)
- National Power Corporation, P17,301,767,000 ($383.72 million)
- Philippine National Oil Company, P1,095,692,000 ($24.30 million)
- Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, P100,000,000 ($2.22 million)
- Credit Information Corporation, P45,000,000 ($998,005.50)
*($1 = P45.09)