DBM vows Napocor funding

The Department of Budget and Management vowed that it would provide P1.26 billion in funding to the National Power Corporation for it to settle its commitments to fuel providers and avert a crippling power crisis in some parts of Mindanao and Luzon.

This comes after DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman attended the House hearing of the Committee on Appropriations.

During the inquiry, Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman asked Pangandaman on the national budget with the Development Budget Coordination Committee about the status of the Napocor’s request for the said funds will be used to pay the oil company, Petron, for fuel charges.

Hataman explained that if Petron decides not to supply fuel to at least 10 power plants should Napocor fail to secure payment of at least P1.26 billion of its over P2 billion commitment, the power outages in Basilan and other areas of the country will only worsen.

Pangandaman said that they have received information from Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla.

“We are just waiting for the request if we can find funding for the fuel charges, I think it is roughly P1 billion until the end of the year,” Pangandaman told members of the committee.

She added that she had previously spoken to Lotilla about the issue, and they are awaiting the department’s request to begin processing the release of the P1.2 billion for the fuel.

To recall, Hataman — who is also the former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao — met with Napocor officials earlier to discuss the power outages in Basilan after receiving a letter from the organization telling the legislator of its situation with fuel providers.

The oil company won’t supply fuel to Basilan’s power plants, which consist of one diesel power plant and two power barges: one in Isabela City and one in Lamitan, if Napocor fails to settle its obligations with Petron within the next few days.

The province’s power plant and power barges are under Napocor’s Small Power Utilities Group.

Due to rising fuel prices and payment issues, Napocor informed Hataman that it had asked the DoE and DoF for additional funding for 2022.

The agency also asked to use Unprogrammed Funds in the 2022 General Appropriations Act and P1.3 billion DBM subsidies from earlier years.

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