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October 7, 2014

GMA 7 NEWS: Solution to power crisis will be safeguarded against corruption, Palace promises

The government will find a solution to the looming power crisis next year that will not expose public funds to corruption, a Malacañang spokesman assured the public on Monday.

Presidential spokesman Edqin LAcierda allayed fears raised by LPG-MA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty that the administration's plan to lease generator sets using P6 billion in governement funds will be "vulnerable to corruption."

"All parties concerned will ensure transparency since the Joint Congressional Power Commission will have eversight functions." Lacierda said in a text message.

The JCPC is chaired by Senator Sergio Osmeña III and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali leads the House delegation in the oversight panel.

The Palace official added that the executive is banking on Congress to "explore and discuss at possible options in addressing the possible power shortage in 2015."

In a statement earlier in the day, Ty warned of "potential fraud" in the government's plan to lease generator sets and procure fuel to address the power supply deficit next summer.

The administration will only be authorized to do these if Congress grants President Benigno Aquino III emergency powers to contract additional generating capacityto address the 300-megawatt (MW) projected deficit for next year, and to generate another 300 MW in reserve power.

The President intends to invoke Section 71 of the Electric Power Crisis Provision under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

Senate President Franklin Drilon has said he is willing to heed Aquino's request, but Osmeña — also chair of the Senate Energy committee — said other options are available to the government to deal  with the looming power crisis.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, Aquino's ally, meanwhile wanted to clarify why the government will have to rent the additional generating capacity for two years, when it will only be needed for three months.

Rep. Umali, House Energy committee chairman, for his part, has warned ofdaily three-hour brownouts next summer if the government fails to avert the power crisis. — JDS, GMA News

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