Press Release
December 20, 2013

Trillanes files bill allocating Malampaya Fund to power
infrastructure rehab, power hike subsidy

Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV files a bill authorizing the use of Malampaya Funds to finance the maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of energy infrastructure in preparation for and in response to natural and man-made calamities, as well as finance direct subsidy for energy consumption by end-users.

Trillanes said: "It is high-time that the Malampaya fund be finally put into good use to directly benefit the end-users of electricity."

Trillanes explained that the Malampaya fund was created to finance energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government. Contrary to this spirit of the law, however, during previous administration, said Fund was allegedly siphoned off to finance anomalous transactions such as those involving dubious Foundations linked to Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles, which prompted the High Court to clip the discretionary powers of the President to touch the huge fund although it affirmed the constitutionality of utilizing the same insofar as energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government are concerned.

"The Court ruling, however, puts the President in a quandary on whether he can use said Fund as subsidy for the direct benefit of electric end-users to minimize the financial brunt of the impending power hike of the largest power distributor in the country."

"While I believe that the President has the power to allocate the Malapampaya Funds for the said purpose, I am filing this bill to finally settle the issue once and for all and to promote public interest by amending the more than three-decade old PD 910," added Trillanes.

Under SBN 2049, or the bill amending Presidential Decree 910, Special Funds such as the Malampaya Fund, may be used to restore vital energy infrastructure affected by man-made and natural calamities such as Typhoon Yolanda. The bill also authorizes the use of the said Fund to directly subsidize energy consumption of end-users in case of market failure.

On December 9, the Energy Regulatory Commission approved the plan of the Meralco to implement up to P4.15 per kilowatt hour power rate increase, the highest in the country's history, which will be distributed in three tranches. The price hike was said to be triggered by the increase in generation charges, which resulted from the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas platform. This shutdown was compounded by simultaneous outages of other power plants, fuelling allegation of collusion among industry players.

Trillanes reminded, "In times of market failures such as the present power rate hike, the government must leave no stone unturned to safeguard every Filipino consumer's interest. The effect of this power hike is to diminish an already weak purchasing power of marginalized Filipinos. Thus, finding solutions must be our top-most priority since bickering and misplaced politicking would not ease the burden of our kababayans."

Earlier, Trillanes filed Senate Resolution 411 seeking to probe the power rate hike and the alleged collusion among power industry players to create an artificial increase in prices. He also urged the public to remain vigilant and utilize necessary political pressure on the Aquino administration to hasten its action on the matter.

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