DOE urged to create body to monitor new round of fuel tax hikes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 2, 2020   •   1104

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a task force that will closely monitor the implementation of the new round of increases in excise tax on fuel.

Gatchalian made the call as the third and last tranche of tax hikes on petroleum products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law took effect on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

He said that under the TRAIN Law, the estimated rate impact on pump price for unleaded premium gasoline would be around ₱1.01 per liter, while the estimated rate impact of the third tranche of the excise tax on diesel price is ₱1.65 per liter.

For 100 percent coal contracted power distribution utilities, the estimated rate impact is around ₱0.03 per kilowatt hour.

The senator said the creation of the task force is aimed to protect consumers from premature price increases and profiteering.

“Kailangan paigtinging mabuti ng Department of Energy (DOE) ang pagbabantay laban sa hoarding at profiteering sa bansa ngayong nakaamba ang dagdag na excise tax sa huling pagkakataon,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Huwag na nating hayaan ang ilang mapagsamantalang retailers na ibenta sa mataas na halaga ang kanilang mga lumang imbentaryong produkto, gayong nabili nila ito bago pa man maimplementa ang third tranche ng excise tax sa fuel,” he added.

Gatchalian noted that local oil companies maintain a minimum inventory equivalent to 15-day supply of petroleum products as provided under DOE’s Department Circular No. 2003-01-001 or the Implementing Guidelines for the Minimum Inventory Requirements of Petroleum of Oil Companies and Bulk Suppliers.

The DOE earlier said the new round of fuel tax hikes are only applicable to new stocks imported beginning January 1, 2020. It also advised oil firms to deplete old stocks before implementing new price schemes reflecting the new levies.

Gatchalian also called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor the prices of goods in the market in order to ensure that unscrupulous businessmen will not take advantage and pass on the impact of higher oil prices to consumers as a result of the third tranche of the TRAIN law implementation.

“Mabigat na sa bulsa ng bawat isa ang pagpataw ng excise tax sa krudo. Sana naman ay huwag na natin dagdagan ang pasanin ng taong bayan sa pamamagitan ng hindi makatarungang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin,” he said.

Energy chief Cusi questions NGCP warning on possible low supply during hotter months

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2022

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi has asked the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to present the steps it has taken following its warning of possible brownouts during the dry season.

In a statement, Cusi questioned the NGCP’s warning when it should be ensuring adequate power supply to address this “annual occurrence.”

“Increased demand for power during our hotter months, and reduced supply during these same dry months is an annual occurrence, and as System Operator and Grid Operator, the NGCP is very much aware of this cycle,” he said.

“So, what is NGCP doing about it?” he asked.

It can be recalled that on Tuesday, the NGCP issued a warning about the possibility of a thin energy supply during the months of April to June due to increase in demand.

The grid operator also appealed to policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to alleviate possible power supply issues, especially at or around the time of the national and local elections in May.

Cusi said the DOE is “spearheading efforts to bring the power industry together to work toward a wholistic solution.”

“The NGCP is expected to perform their responsibilities that contribute to the adequacy of supply, and more so this year as we will be holding national elections this summer,” he added.

The Energy chief said the department is “very interested to hear from them about the steps they have taken, or are taking, to address the situation, particularly in preventing the occurrence of a power interruption.”

He also asked the NGCP if it has ensured the following:

  • That all capacities at all power stations are available;
  • That all available capacities are connected;
  • That all congestion issues are addressed;
  • That the Grid Operating Maintenance Program (GOMP) was thoroughly planned;
  • That reserves are contracted from a separate pool of capacity for ancillary services which we can tap in cases of emergency.

“I have already instructed our Power Bureau to look into these matters,” Cusi said.

Lacson, Gatchalian test positive for COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Senators Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian have tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a Twitter post on Friday, Lacson confirmed that he has contracted the virulent virus after undergoing the test on January 4.

He said he has informed all his close contacts since January 3 about his condition and advised them to take the necessary precaution.

“Immediately informed all my Jan 3 physical contacts of my Jan 4 COVID-positive test result which was released only last night, Jan 6 so they can take extra precautions to protect their loved ones and others. Thank God no one is exhibiting symptoms. Wearing our masks helped much,” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian announced his COVID-19 positive result in a Viber message to Senate reporters.

Gatchalian said he tested positive Friday but only experienced mild symptoms.

The senator assured that he is following strict health protocols by self-quarantining away from family members, friends, and the public.

He also appealed to the public to get vaccinated and boosted.

“This is to inform the public that I tested positive for COVID-19 today. Following strict health protocols, I went on self-quarantine away from family, friends, and the public,” he said.

“So far, I am only experiencing mild symptoms from the virus and this goes to show that the vaccines are effective and working against it. I enjoin everyone to get your booster shots right away,” he added. —/mbmf

DOE exploring mangrove’s potential in managing carbon dioxide emissions

Robie de Guzman   •   December 2, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday said it is looking into the potential of mangrove sequestration in managing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fire power plants as part of the Philippines’ commitment to successfully realize the energy transition without sacrificing energy security.

In a statement, the DOE said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has issued a memorandum directing the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau to examine existing studies, or submit its own study on the “possibility of putting up mangroves for CO2 emission reduction from coal-fired power plants”; and seek technical assistance from development partners for such a study.

“The study, if proven, could help the Philippines in fulfilling the CO2 requirements without sacrificing our goal to achieve energy security given our energy-neutral portfolio,” Cusi said in his memo dated November 24.

With the global community racing to find ways to curb the adverse impact of climate change on the planet, the DOE said mangroves continue to gain scientific interest due to their ability to stockpile significant amounts of carbon in their wood and soil, instead of releasing it back into the atmosphere.

“We recognize the need to attain our energy security in a sustainable manner,” Cusi said.

“However, while there still is a percentage of our power needs that is being provided by coal, we should actively explore the potential of out-of-the-box solutions that could reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions of coal plants,” he added.

The Philippines has earlier urged the international community to start implementing actions on the fulfillment of the nations’ commitments and obligations to humanity to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.

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