THE House of Representatives Committee on Energy, chaired by Representative Juan Miguel "Mikey" Macapagal Arroyo, has worked on two measures aimed at addressing the impact of climate change and promoting the use of clean energy in the Philippines.
Arroyo, who represents Pampanga’s Second District in Congress, said House Bill No. 9544 proposes to create the Philippine Renewable Energy Corporation, while the committee exercised its legislative oversight function on Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, to make its provisions attuned to the needs of the country.
Arroyo’s committee is one of the largest in the House of Representatives, with 65 members including a chairperson and nine vice chairpersons.
The committee has general and exclusive jurisdiction over all matters relating to the exploration, development, exploitation, utilization or conservation of energy resources; entities involved in power generation, transmission and distribution; and supply of all forms of energy and energy fuels.
“These measures aim to assure adequate supply of electricity with the use of renewable energy resources which would reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, and mitigate the impact of climate change on our environment and economy,” said Arroyo, who co-chairs the Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC) that looks into the implementation of several landmark laws such as RA 9513.
Arroyo said the committee works to enact measures to ensure stable, affordable and reliable supply of clean electricity to sustain the growth of the economy and reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.
He said this is possible by encouraging the development of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, biomass and other green energy projects.
Arroyo said this is why the committee pushed for the approval of HB 9544, which would create the Philippine Renewable Energy Corporation—a state-run company that would undertake electrification projects through the development of renewable energy sources in underserved, unserved and missionary areas.
The House Committee on Energy held its initial deliberation on the bill on July 22, 2021 and two technical deliberations on August 3 and 9, 2021.
The substitute bill and the committee report were considered and approved on September 7, 2021.
Meanwhile, the Joint Congressional Energy Commission, co-chaired by Arroyo, together with Senator Win Gatchalian, looked into the major provisions of Renewable Energy Act of 2008, including the renewable portfolio standards (RPS), feed-in-tariff (FIT) system, renewable energy market, green energy option and net-metering for renewable energy.
Arroyo said the purpose of the legislative oversight function is to finetune or make adjustments to make RA 9513, which was passed more than a decade ago, adapt to present challenges and situations.
“This would ensure that we have a viable, vibrant and sustainable renewable energy market,” said Arroyo.
RA 9513 is one of the nine laws that were the subject of legislative oversight function of the House Committee on Energy in the 18th Congress.
Arroyo said the review of RA 9513 and the approval of HB 9544 are in line with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change mitigation that even countries with low greenhouse gas emission contributions such as the Philippines should also focus on cleaner sources of energy.
The IPCC report is a regular assessment released by the panel every six to seven years based on the work of thousands of scientists from all over the world.
Previous reports concluded that climate change is caused by human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels.
Arroyo said the report shows that while carbon emissions declined in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, this bounced back to pre-pandemic levels since then.
“We need extraordinary cuts in the use of fossil fuels to meet our emissions targets, and that entails a dramatic shift towards sustainable renewable energy," he said.
The recent push to increase production of oil, gas and coal and backtrack on climate measures because of the crisis in Ukraine —and even to delay net-zero—is short-sighted folly,” the IPCC said in its “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change” report.
“Besides being detrimental to the environment, fossil fuels have further burdened Filipinos with high gas prices and power outages,” the report stated.
Arroyo said he agrees with the IPCC report that, “shifting to renewable energy is a win-win situation for the Philippines as we will finally be free from costly fossil fuel power plants”.
April 16, 2022
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