Palace: No rush for session on power crisis
Malacañang on Saturday said it is willing to wait until June for Congress to hold a special session, if it so wishes, to grant President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo special powers aimed at addressing a looming energy crisis in the country.
In an interview aired over government-run dzRB radio, deputy presidential spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said Mrs. Arroyo is willing to wait until June for Congress to resume session, if it cannot muster the numbers to convene a special session now.
“Ang pangulo, ‘di tatawag ng special session kung alam niya ang leader ng Kongreso, ‘di mabubuo ang quorum (The president will not call a special session if she knows the Congress leaders cannot produce a quorum),” Saludo said.
He added that the Palace is still holding “consultations” with its allies in Congress to see if the numbers can be mustered for a special session.
Saludo likewise insisted that Mrs. Arroyo is not seeking special powers to deal with the looming crisis other than those mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
“’Di tayo humihingi ng emergency powers, ito ay simpleng declaration ng power crisis (We are not asking for emergency powers. We are merely asking to declare a power crisis),” he said.
Section 71 of EPIRA states that: “Upon the determination by the President of the Philippines of an imminent shortage of the supply of electricity, Congress may authorize, through a joint resolution, the establishment of additional generating capacity under such terms and conditions as it may approve.”
Saludo also urged the President’s critics to stop putting political intrigue into the plan to call a special session, saying no other agenda will be discussed in Congress if ever a special session is held.
“Huwag natin pasukan ang ibang intriga (Let us not put intrigue into this special session),” he added.
Get situation on the ground
Saludo likewise urged local and national government agencies to go into the field and get firsthand information on the El Niño dry spell, said to have been causing the country’s energy shortage.
“Nananawagan tayo sa kawani ng gobyerno at opisyal, national o local. Direktong alamin at aksyunan ang kahirapang nararanasan ng sektor lalo ng magsasaka,” (We call on government officials and employees at the national and local levels to go out into the field and get information firsthand),” he said in the same interview.
Saludo likewise said that getting the actual situation on the ground would help the local officials make decisions that will address the problems in their respective localities.
“Ito ‘di nakukuha sa pagmamando sa opisina. Kailangan lumabas tayo (Such things we can’t get from just issuing orders from our offices. We have to go out into the field),” he said.
State weather forecasters had earlier predicted that the El Niño dry spell will last until June. (See: El Niño: An Interactive Map) —Andreo C. Calonzo/JV, GMANews.TV