Senate bill seeks to grant Aquino emergency powers

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday filed a bill which seeks to grant emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino III, following the threats from Manila Electric Company (Meralco) that rotating brownouts will be experienced especially in the summer months.

Trillanes said the bill will enable Aquino to address the looming energy crisis immediately.

[caption id="attachment_78461" align="aligncenter" width="338"] Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a bill which seeks to grant emergency powers to President Benigno Aquino III. (Photo by Candice Reyes)[/caption]

Under Senate Bill No. 2051, Aquino will be granted the power "to enter into negotiated contracts for the construction, repair, rehabilitation, improvement or maintenance of power plants, projects and facilities depending on the national welfare and public interest."

"Out of the abundance of caution, this measure expressly prohibits the government from granting sovereign guarantees for the payment of obligations incurred by the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Likewise, this measure proscribes the inclusion of onerous 'take or pay' contracts or similar provisions which appeared to have been abused in the past," Trillanes said in a statement issued by the Senate Tuesday.

The bill will also authorize Aquino "to use all available funds such as Malampaya Fund to finance the maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of energy infrastructure in response to any calamities."

Aquino earlier rejected proposals which will grant him emergency powers to solve the high cost of energy in the country. (Mary Rose Hogaza)

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