STORY OF THE DAY


LAWMAKERS OPPOSE 'SOLAR PARA SA BAYAN' FRANCHISE BILL



Several lawmakers from the House of Representatives called for the review of an act granting a legislative franchise to the Solar Para sa Bayan Corp.

Romero together with other lawmakers have filed House Resolution No. 2182 urging the Committee on Rules to revert back House Bill No. 8179 which grants Solar Para sa Bayan Corp. "a franchise to install, operate and maintain distributable power technologies and minigrid systems throughout the country."

According to the lawmakers, the bill violates Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform (EPIRA) Law.

Section 59 of the law states that “only those which are in remote and unviable villages that the franchise utility is unable to service for any reason shall be opened to other qualified third parties.”

It would also overstep the role of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) which has the sole and exclusive mandate to manage and operate the electricity transmission nationwide.

According to Romero, the Solar Corp. will monopolize and bring down the whole electric power industry.

He also noted that 100% of the stakeholders in the energy sector is fully opposing the said measure.

Meanwhile, BUHAY Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said the passage of the bill was done in haste after the Committee on Legislative Franchises approved the committee report containing the substitute bill for the proposed measure in just four days.

According to Atienza, they are opposing the measure as it is will give an “undue advantage” to the company.

Earlier, Solar Corporation founder Leandro Leviste who is the son of Sen. Loren Legarda, defended the program, saying that aside from providing cheaper and reliable power to unserved areas, they also want create healthy competition that benefits consumers across the country.

Moreover, Romero said there have nothing against Legarda, saying that they are just doing their job and what is right for the country.

In response, Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap who is the proponent of the franchise bill, questioned the “belated filing” of his colleagues, and denied that the bill was railroaded.