A wake up call.
That's how outgoing Quezon City 5th district Rep. Alfred Vargas described the power outages in Luzon over the weekend, which affected an estimated one million residents,
“This incident, which has been attributed to insufficient power supply, is a stark reminder that we cannot have the power and energy sector remain in its present state and expect to meet the demands of an economy recovering from the pandemic,” he said of the power interruptions Saturday, June 18.
Vargas said that, as vice chairman of the House Energy Committee, he has been apprised of several solutions to the issues besetting the power sector by experts and the business community.
“We already have a host of viable proposals to existing concerns that are ripe for implementation. Delays would only translate to more of our fellow Filipinos suffering,” he said.
Vargas said long-term and inclusive economic growth would also be determined by stable, reliable, and affordable power.
“More investors in power and energy would result in the longed-for stability in our power supply. This, in turn, would attract investors in key industries such as manufacturing and tourism. With more investors coming in, we create jobs in sectors and regions that have been affected by the pandemic,” he said.
Energy experts have warned of a looming energy crisis with the expected depletion of the Malampaya gas field in 2024. Malampaya supplies 30 per cent of the energy needs of the Luzon grid.
Energy experts also estimate that the Philippines would need an additional capacity of 43 gigawatts by the year 2040.
At any rate, Vargas believes that "long-term stability in power and energy" can be achieved under the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
“I am confident that given the declared priorities of the new administration, we can bring back stability and sustainability to the power sector,” said the three-term solon.
Vargas said the government needs to bring in more investors to the power and energy sector in light of warnings from experts that the country faces a possible energy crisis.
"Instability in power supply is a roadblock to our economy's revival, especially now that we are progressively reclaiming pre-pandemic economic growth. But I am confident that the President-elect's administration has the resolve and competence to tackle and solve this problem head on," he added.