MANILA – Members of the House of Representatives’ “power bloc” on Tuesday said the continuation of the Malampaya Gas-to-Power Project is critical in ensuring the country’s energy security and the viability of the health care system, especially amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Philreca Party-list Rep. Presley de Jesus said the Malampaya power plant is also a platform that significantly fuels up the economy as it powers 30 percent of the country, especially Luzon, with natural, indigenous gas and accounts for 98 percent of domestic oil and gas production.
De Jesus noted that the Malampaya gas field fuels industries, including the embattled hospitals and health care centers that are fighting the spread of Covid-19.
The Malampaya supply is expected to be depleted by 2027, while the contract for the project is set to expire in 2024.
He said a resolution has been filed calling for the creation and implementation of national defense and security policies that could empower the Philippines to have a resilient, independent power industry, including the extension of the life of the Malampaya plant.
"The resolution of the continuation of the operations of Malampaya is critical and urgent, both for our pandemic-filled present and the future of this country when it comes to our energy security and our health care industry,” de Jesus said. “Time is running out for Malampaya. A resolution in its favor will solidify the integral role of energy security in the country, while ensuring the survival of our health care system – in the present and in a challenging future, which is laden with so much economic and medical uncertainties.”
He said Malampaya is also one of the reliable sources of funding that the government could tap to contain the coronavirus threat and its resulting crises.
Apec Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc said Covid-19 is causing a strain on the global supply chain, making it unsustainable and impractical to keep relying on foreign fuel sources.
“Energy security is a crucial factor in protecting and upholding our national sovereignty, so we can keep domestic economies running at full power,” Dagooc said.
Padayon Party-list Rep. Adriano Ebcas, meanwhile, said unless the government quickly addresses all these energy issues and rising demands, the Philippines may face an acute power shortage.
“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.
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. (PNA)