Press Release
June 1, 2021

Senate passes bill removing expiration period of joint energy commission

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to further strengthen the Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) and remove its expiration period.

Voting 22-0-0, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2220, also known as the JCEC Enhancement Act, which is aimed at enhancing the powers and functions of the commission, further amending for the purpose Sec. 62 of Republic Act No 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and sponsor of the measure said SBN 2220 would institutionalize the JCEC as a permanent oversight body tasked with ensuring the full implementation of landmark energy laws.

JCEC shall exercise oversight functions in the implementation of all existing energy laws, including Presidential Decree No. (PDN) 87 or the "Oil Exploration and Development Act of 1972", PDN 972 or the "Coal Development Act of 1976", and Republic Act (RA) No. 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998.

Among the functions of the commission under SBN 2220 are the determination of inherent weakness in the law, recommend the necessary remedial legislation or executive measures and perform other duties and functions as may be necessary to attain its objectives.

According to Gatchalian, JCEC was established under Section 62 of RA 9136 and was originally called as the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC).

Composed of 14 members from both chambers of Congress, Gatchalian said the JCPC was originally constituted by law for a period of ten years and was extended for an additional ten years by Joint Resolution No. 1, series of 2011, up to June 26, 2021.

Gatchalian said JCEC has convened for at least 69 hearings and meetings during the 12th to 18th congresses and oversaw the full implementation of three out of the seven laws under its jurisdiction: The Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act, the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act and the Murang Kuryente Act.

The Commission has also taken an active role in defending and promoting the rights of power consumers by investigating issues such as the exorbitant bill shock experienced by MERALCO customers during the Luzon-wide ECQ in 2020.

SBN 2220 seeks to expand the JCEC's oversight jurisdiction to include existing energy laws without their own respective oversight bodies, such as the Oil Exploration and Development Act of 1972 and the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998.

"The JCEC has played and will continue to play an important role in achieving our shared vision of greater Philippine energy stability, sustainability, and savings," he added.

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