SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives has unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 7054 or the proposed “Emergency and Resiliency Fund for Electric Cooperatives” which shall be used in disaster prevention, management, and mitigation measures of electric cooperatives and for rehabilitation of their infrastructures damaged by force majeure or fortuitous events.
All 205 House members present during the voting supported the bill which seeks to mandate the government to support and assist all electric cooperatives (ECs) affected by force majeure to immediately restore power. This will facilitate and assist efforts by LGUs in rendering aid, reconstruction and rehabilitation of devastated areas.
Likewise, the bill provides for orderly and continuing government financial assistance to ECs in the form of grants for disaster mitigation, preparedness, restoration and rehabilitation of damaged facilities..
In turn, ECs shall implement the rural electrification program nationwide under existing laws and ensure the protection, preparedness and mitigation of the adverse impact of any fortuitous event or force majeure on their infrastructure. They shall also ascertain the ability of their manpower to undertake emergency response for the immediate restoration or rehabilitation of their damaged infrastructure after a catastrophe.
ECs shall also prepare plans and programs, and compliance with all requirements so that funds are allocated to implement the objectives and provisions of the law.
The “Emergency and Resiliency Fund for ECs” shall be managed and administered by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) in consultation with relevant government agencies, ECs, and end-users. These entities shall submit quarterly reports on the program implementation, and fund utilization to the Department of Energy (DOE), the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) and the Office of the President of the Philippines.
The initial fund shall be taken from the present appropriation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund until it has been in included in the following year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA). Any donation in the form of materials, equipment or cash, local or international shall be administered by NEA subject to existing auditing rules and regulations and shall be exempted from all duties, taxes, fees and other charges.
The allocation of funds shall be divided accordingly: 30 percent for the ECs’ disaster prevention, disaster preparedness and disaster mitigation measures as approved by NEA; 60 percent for the restoration and rehabilitation of infrastructures of ECs damaged by catastrophe; and 10 percent for the settlement of expenses incurred by ECs during restoration and rehabilitation of infrastructure damages. In case of fund deficiency, NEA may seek the allocation of a supplementary budget subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines.
The bill is authored by Reps. Carlos Roman Uybarreta, Rodel Batocabe, Deputy Speaker Eric Singson, Reps. Deogracias Victor Savellano, Victoria Isabel Noel, Eugene Michael De Vera, Virgilio Lacson, Michael Romero, Orestes Salon, Marisol Panotes, Enrico Pineda, Aniceto Bertiz III, Jericho Jonas Nograles, Bernadette Herrera-Dy, Anthony Bravo, Christopher Co, Alfredo Garbin, Harlin Neil Abayon, Ricardo Belmonte, Estrellita Suansing, Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Rogelio Neil Pepito Roque, Deogracias Ramos, Gil Acosta, Wilter Wee Palma, Lianda Bolilia, Aurora Cerilles, Napoleon Dy, Rosanna Vergara, Mark Aeron Sambar, Carlos Isagani Zarate, Rose Marie Arenas, Jose Tejada, Tricia Nicole Velasco-Catera, Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez, Maria Carmen Zamora, Federico Sandoval, Raul del Mar, Michael John Duavit, Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Alfred Vargas, Johnny Pimentel, Wilfredo Caminero, Gary Alejano, Manuel Zubiri, Mark Go, Maximo Rodriguez, Teodoro Montoro, Leopoldo Bataoil, and Jesulito Manalo. | JAM