By Myrna M. Velasco
Department of Energy (DOE) logo
Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Petronilo “Pete” L. Ilagan has resigned from his post at the agency effective August 15 this year. The former energy official confirmed the news, adding that he has been opting to go back to the non-government organization advocacy work; and this is also to yield to the request of his family to bow out from government service.
Ilagan said he wants to focus his attention on his PH-Haiyan Advocacy, a post-disaster rebuilding initiative at the Yolanda-wrecked Tacloban City with the aim of restoring its ecosystem and turning the area into an eco-tourism destination. The former energy official reportedly secured first the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go before getting the nod of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on his exit from the department.
Ilagan is the department’s undersecretary overseeing the affairs of the electric cooperatives – and prior to his departure from the DOE, the ECs are the ones on sharp focus because of feared encroachment in their franchise areas by more deep-pocketed private sector players.
The electric cooperatives have been contesting the anticipated entry of third party investors in their franchise areas in line with the government’s total household electrification program – a policy thrust they deem to potentially dislodge their rights over such service domains.
DOE has seven undersecretaries, but with Ilagan’s exit, that will be reduced to six. Nevertheless, it will already be etched in history that this is the administration that appointed the most number of undersecretaries and assistant secretaries at the department.
In May this year, retired Admiral Alexander S. Lopez had also been appointed by Malacanang to the department as Undersecretary for Safety and Security.
Lopez, according to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, will be the department’s official representative to the National Intelligence Board, the advisory board to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.
In securing the petroleum assets though, including the Malampaya gas field, such would be a sphere that falls under the jurisdiction of Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos.
Cusi reportedly demarcated the assignments of the two undersecretaries when it comes to safeguarding the security concerns of specific energy assets.
With Ilagan’s departure, the remaining undersecretaries will be Lopez, Marcos, Felix William B. Fuentebella, Raul B. Aguilos, Jesus Cristino P. Posadas and Benito L. Ranque. (MMV)