By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian questioned on Wednesday the government’s inability to promulgate the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the “Murang Kuryente Act” on time, saying agencies concerned should expedite its release as soon as possible.
Gatchalian pointed out that since President Rodrigo Duterte signed the landmark measure on August 8, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Finance (DOF) have yet to issue the law’s IRR.
“Gaya ng nakararaming Pilipino, ako rin ay nagtataka kung bakit na-delay ang pag issue ng IRR ng Murang Kuryente Act gayong malinaw na nakasaad sa batas na dapat within 90 days nailabas na ang IRR (Like other Filipinos, I am also wondering why there is a delay in issuing the IRR for the Murang Kuryente Act when under the law, it should be released within 90 days after it was signed into law),” Gatchalian said.
“Ibig sabihin, dapat mayroon nang IRR ang Murang Kuryente Act noon pang November 27 (This means, we should have an IRR of the Murang Kuryente Act last Nov 27),” said the senator.
The new law aims to unburden consumers from having to pay the universal charges for stranded contract costs and stranded debts in their electricity bills.
Under the law, a portion of the national government’s share of the proceeds from the Malampaya Natural Gas Project would be used to pay for the two items included in the electricity rates being paid by consumers.
“The spirit of Murang Kuryente Act is to unshackle every Filipino household from the burden of paying National Power Corp.’s (NPC) debts through the universal charge for stranded debts (UC-SD) and stranded contract costs (UC-SCC) incorporated in their monthly electricity bill,” Gatchalian said.
“However, since President Rodrigo Duterte signed the landmark measure on August 8, 2019, the DOE and the DOF have yet to promulgate the IRR of the Murang Kuryente Act,” he said.
Gatchalian said he hopes the government agencies concerned would finally be able to issue the law’s IRR this Christmas season.
“While we understand that the DOE and DOF need to conduct consultations and address some complexity in the law, time is of the essence here. We want all Filipinos to feel and receive the tangible benefits from the Malampaya Fund now,” he said.
“That’s why we are urging the DOE and DOF to issue the IRR as soon as possible so that there will be no new universal charges collected from every household,” he stressed.