Gatchalian pushes for subsidies when oil prices hit over $80 per barrel for 3 straight months

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is pushing for an Energy Subsidy Program (ESP) to cushion the adverse effects of sudden and drastic increases in the prices of petroleum products.

Gatchalian’s proposed Senate Bill No. 384 or the Pantawid Pasada Act seeks to establish an ESP to guarantee a speedy and simplified procedure for distributing cash through digital payment systems to all qualified beneficiaries.

This is one of Gatchalian’s priority bills in the energy sector for the upcoming 19th Congress that focuses on consumer protection.

The ESP provides for the distribution of cash to beneficiaries within 30 days from the issuance of certification from the Department of Energy (DOE) when the average price of oil for three consecutive months is equal to or has hit more than $80 per barrel.

While he will no longer chair the energy committee, Gatchalian vowed to continue pursuing the country’s energy security through sustainable and alternative sources.

His priority bills include SB No. 157 or Energy Transition, which will institutionalize fundamental policies on energy transition, including promoting clean energy sources, which will keep electricity costs lower.

Gatchalian also deemed it necessary to uphold the government’s interests in oil and gas exploration and production service contracts to provide a consumer’s stable energy supply through SB No. 381 or the Amendment of Presidential Decree (PD) 87.

This will help achieve energy security by diversifying energy sources given the expiration of Service Contract (SC) 38 or the Malampaya service contract in 2024.

He likewise underscored the need to refocus the investment mandate of the state-run Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) under SB No. 380 for the advancement of energy security and self-sufficiency.

Gatchalian is giving another push for some of his bills filed during the 18th Congress, such as the Waste to Energy facilities (SBN 151), Midstream Natural Gas (SBN 152), and Energy Advocate (SBN 156).

SBN 151 and SBN 152 are meant to diversify energy sources further while SBN 156 will institutionalize an independent consumer representation in all rate-setting, rule-making, and other energy-related cases and proceedings before government agencies, including judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.