16 March 2015

Palace calls on public to conserve energy to counter looming power shortage
The government will continue to push for the adoption of an aggressive energy conservation measure as well as cooperate with the private sector to address the possible shortage of energy supply in Luzon this summer.

The government will implement these measures as it closely works with Congress in threshing out issues regarding the enactment of a Joint Resolution to address the possible power supply shortage, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Monday.

Secretary Coloma noted that while the government calls for public cooperation to conserve energy, it will also continue to support private companies that plan to use their own generators as an alternative power source, under the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

“According to (Energy) Secretary (Carlos Jericho) Petilla, the DOE continues to monitor closely the supply situation, in view of the start of the annual maintenance of the Malampaya power plant,” Coloma told reporters.

“It is hoped that with the adoption of these contingency measures, and with full public support, the possibility of rotating two-hour brownouts in Luzon, projected as the worst-case scenario, may be minimized,” he added.

The Palace has been asking Congress to give the President special authority that would allow him to carry out measures aimed at averting the looming power outages that could affect the economy. PND (as)

Government, Moro Islamic Liberation Front remain committed to peace, says Palace official
The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) remain committed to the peace process and will continue to work to strengthen mutual trust, a Palace official has said.

“What we know is that both sides continue to work on confidence-building measures and on seeing to it that an acceptable Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) may be enacted by Congress within the time frame set by the leadership of both houses,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Monday.

“The government remains firmly committed to establishing enduring peace, which is built on a foundation of mutual trust,” he added.

According to news reports, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad recently said that trust between the government and the MILF has been affected by the deadly Mamasapano incident last January.

Murad also said that the President’s political capital is dwindling and there is the possibility that the BBL will not be passed on time, as a result of the incident.

Commenting on the issue on the citizenship of Murad and MILF peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal, who allegedly carry Malaysian passports, Coloma quoted a media report saying that both Murad and Iqbal have denied that they are Malaysian citizens.

The issue on Murad’s and Iqbal’s citizenship should not be a major deal because the two MILF personalities have been widely recognized even during the term of past administrations that discussed peace with the rebel group, the Palace official explained.

“For the past 17 years, or dating back to the (former president Fidel) Ramos administration, Messrs. Murad and Iqbal have engaged the Philippine government in peace negotiations,” he said, when asked whether the government would look into their citizenships.

“Throughout this period, their citizenship has never been questioned. In fact, both houses of Congress have recognized their legitimate roles in the peace process by inviting them to appear in congressional hearings,” Coloma said. PND (as)