Consumer group Power for People Coalition (P4P) condemned Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s “preoccupation” with the leadership dispute in the PDP-Laban party while electricity rates remained high during his term.
“As I understand, Secretary Cusi is being paid by DOE to work for an energy sector that benefits all Filipinos,” P4P Convenor Gerry Arances said in a statement on Saturday, July 17.
“The fracas inside PDP Laban showed that Cusi can work quickly and effectively to get what he wants, but after five years in DOE, we just have to ask if he really wants what’s best for electricity users in the country,” he added.
The coalition’s statement came before PDP-Laban also on Saturday ousted Senator Manny Pacquiao as the ruling party president and installed Cusi as his replacement.
Cusi was expelled from the party the previous week but was restored to his previous position as vice chair in the party’s National Council meeting on Friday.
“I wonder what would happen if people can expel Secretary Cusi from DOE. Will he be able to fix all the problems of the energy sector within a week? The problems of high energy prices and low energy supply have been around since his first day in office,” Arances said.
The DOE chief has been criticized by consumers for expanding the role of coal in the country’s energy mix even as coal power plants continue to fail when demand peaks.
“So far, under his watch, we have become more dependent on expensive, polluting, and unreliable coal, while the advance of renewable energy was stymied by DOE except in press releases, and now we are looking at the use of gas, another expensive and polluting fossil fuel, to replace coal instead of using sustainable and renewable sources,” Arances added.