House Appropriations Committee Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles
MANILA, Philippines — The Lower House has restored the budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) after the heads of the three offices appealed to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
House Appropriations Committee Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles said CHR Chair Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon agreed.
That the CHR should extend its investigations beyond human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by state agents to also include other groups who victimize members of the police, the military and even civilians.
As for the ERC and the NCIP, Nograles said that Speaker Alvarez and Majority Leader Fariñas secured their assurance that they will start taking all the necessary steps to fight graft and corruption and to carry out the full mandate of their respective offices.
With this development, Nograles said the restoration of the budget for the CHR, the ERC and the NCIP will already be incorporated in the final version of the General Appropriations Bill for 3rd reading approval by the House of Representatives in plenary. – UNTV News & Rescue
The Supreme Court’s decision to deny the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) motion for reconsideration might result in the cessation of power supply.
The ERC has filed a motion for reconsideration of SC’s ruling to void over 90 power supply agreements (PSA) that did not undergo bidding.
“The High Court’s decision will result to the possible immediate termination of 99 affected PSA contracts which will result in the cessation of power supply to 52 Distribution Utilities (DUs) that are serving 13 million electricity consumers,” according to their statement.
There might also be a possible surge in power bills due to the said decision, the ERC added.
However, the ERC also said they will comply with the directive of the Supreme Court.
“We only need to seek guidance through a motion for clarification on how to implement their decision particularly on the rates and the continued supply of electricity to the affected public utilities,” according to ERC chairperson and CEO, Agnes VST Devanadera.—AAC
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE), completing the three-way partnership in promoting competition and coordinating investigations in the energy sector.
“Our MOA with ERC exhibits how the competition agency and sector regulators play complementary roles in promoting competition in the sector while fulfilling their respective mandates,” PCC Chair Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
“Our partnership allows for the sharing of information and coordination of enforcement actions toward a more robust competition landscape in the energy sector,” he added.
The MOA signing comes a month after the PCC signed an agreement with DOE, which also established collaborative mechanisms such as information sharing, investigation support, joint task forces, and continued capacity building and consultations.
The PCC-ERC partnership allows for the conduct of joint fact-finding inquiries pertaining to competition matters in the electric power industry.
It also facilitates consultations with institutions or firms such as the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and generation companies to obtain relevant information.
The commission said that ahead of the MOA signing, a PCC-DOE-ERC tripartite task force was formed to coordinate probes on alleged collusions or abuses of dominance in the power industry.
With the ERC onboard with PCC and DOE, the agencies expect to make headway in probing allegations of collusion amid a series of shutdowns among power plants that may have contributed to increase in electricity prices earlier this year.
The PCC earlier announced a launch of an assessment whether the power plants’ outages were manipulated to increase electricity prices or were valid unplanned breakdowns that affect supply conditions.
“The PCC and ERC recognize the merit of adopting a coordinated approach toward the shared goal of promoting competition in the power industry,” Balisacan said.
“We are confident our combined expertise and investigative capacities will lead to a stronger push for competition enforcement in this critical sector,” he added.
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday called on the Philippine government to fully cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as it sets to conduct a review of the human rights situation in the country.
On Thursday (July 11), the UN rights council adopted an Iceland-led resolution which seeks a comprehensive written report on the Philippines’ human rights situation due to allegations of violations, particularly in the conduct of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
It also asked the government to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights, including preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation of retaliations on human rights defenders.
The resolution also urged the Philippine government to take up measures against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, conduct impartial investigations of human rights violations and hold those involved accountable.
Eighteen countries, mostly from Europe, voted for the resolution; 14 voted against it while 15 others abstained.
With the adoption of the resolution, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet was tasked to prepare a report on the Philippines human rights situation by June 2020.
In a statement, the CHR said that rather than “maintaining acrimony and the hurling of threats of possible consequences,” the Philippine government should open spaces for dialogue with other nations “to show that it has nothing to hide and is willing to adhere to the global standards expected of a member of the UNHRC.”
“It must show both the international community & our own people that it is willing & able to hold perpetrators to account, to protect all human rights defenders, to stop the killings, & to end impunity,” added the agency, which it says, is an independent institution mandated by the Constitution to monitor State compliance with all human rights norms and standards.
The CHR also reiterated its previous calls for the government to allow “thorough, transparent, and independent investigations of all alleged violations of human rights in the country by demonstrating to the world that “our local mechanisms are genuinely working and are sufficient to address demands for justice and the rule of law to prevail.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin earlier rejected the Iceland-led resolution and warned of “far-reaching consequences” for nations who supported the resolution.
Malacañang, meanwhile, said the adoption of the ‘grotesquely one-sided’ resolution is an insult to the majority of Filipinos who expressed satisfaction with the kind of “forceful and effective” governance of President Duterte.
President Duterte, on the other hand, said UN investigators should first state their purpose and he will review if they will be allowed into the country.
“Kasi kung magdagdag lang sila sa intriga, they better go to the media and the media will tell them the truth. Eh ipalabas ninyo ‘yung footages ninyong lahat and all, and that will clear everybody,” Duterte said.
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