by Madelaine B. Miraflor – July 10, 2016
from Manila Bulletin
The government must allot a higher annual budget to the Department of Energy (DOE) given the duties and responsibilities it is tasked to fulfill every year, which includes exhausting all efforts to provide power to all parts of the country.
Former DOE Secretary Zenaida Monsada said she will inform the new DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi of the agency’s need for a bigger budget.
“We have to justify the increase. This is our dream so that we can train people to be competent… [In that way, we can’t just always follow the private sector who claims they are more competent than us,” Monsada said in an interview with reporters.
Monsada said the regular budget that the agency gets ranges from P1 billion to P1.7 billion per year, portions of which will also be used for special projects.
“The agency should get bigger than that given that the national government budget stands at trillions. Ideally, [DOE] should get more than what it is getting or double of that,” Monsada said.
Monsada took over the DOE secretary post last year after Carlos Jericho Petilla quit in April, a few months before announcing his intention to run for a senatorial position.
Before being offered the position, she was Director of DOE’s Oil Industry Management and Renewable Energy Management Bureau and worked with the agency for more than three decades.
Asked if she’s still willing to work with the DOE under the new administration, she only said “I’ve been here for 37 years, so yes I am still willing to help.”
In March, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P1 billion fund to the DOE to cover the implementation of various projects on energy resource development.
These projects include, among others, the Nationwide Intensification of Household Electrification (NIHE) and Household Electrification Program in Off-Grid Areas Using Renewable Energy Systems (HEP).
The amount of P1.04 billion is categorized under the For Later Release list of the 2016 DOE budget, which is subject to compliance of required documents and clearances, such as Work and Financial Plan and project profiles.
This release will support the government’s goal of 90 percent household electrification by 2017 and energization of millions of households not connected to the grid through solar power.
NIHE supports the detailed household electrification program of DOE in partnership with electric cooperatives.
Under this program, the DOE targets to provide power to at least 45,000 more households.