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Climate change panel head eyeing Malampaya funds’ potential

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AN administration politiko said the P158-billion Malampaya funds should also be tapped for the development of clean renewable energy, mitigation of climate change effects and for disaster risk reduction efforts.

To achieve this, AKO-Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe is pushing for the legal re-definition of the use of Malampaya funds, which is currently restricted to the “development of exploration and exploitation of energy sources”.

“We need to re-direct the purpose of the funds to make it more relevant and efficient by using the funds to address  the impacts of climate change in the energy sector,” said Batocabe, chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change.

“I am confident that the executive will not oppose if we use the funds for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures including disaster risk and reduction management  in the  energy sector. Besides, the funds which has now ballooned to P158 billion is not being used and accessed since the Supreme Court declared certain provisions  unconstitutional,” he pointed out.

Batocabe noted that sustainable energy is one of the strategic thrusts of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) and is a key step toward genuine energy self-sufficiency.

It will also reduce the country’s carbon emissions and its reliance on imported dirty fossil fuel, both of which worsen global warming.

As for energy exploration and development, Batocabe said that the matter is best left to the private sector because the role of government should be limited to ensuring enabling policies including proper incentives, as well as a level playing field to encourage greater investments. (Randy K. Ortega)