Press Release
March 7, 2018

Win transcript ambush interview on ECERF Act, ERC Governance Act and South China Sea Joint Exploration

On Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act

SEN. WIN: Ang advantage nito ay matutulungan natin ngayon yung 121 na electric cooperatives nationwide. Na kung tinamaan sila ng kalamidad whether earthquake, bagyo, or volcanic eruption, ay mayroon na silang pondong pwedeng gamitin immediately to restore power, at hindi nila ipapasa sa consumers yung pondo na yun na gagamitin na lang. Ang set-up kasi natin ngayon kung may kalamidad ay hihiram sila ng pera at yung pera na yun ay ipapasa pa nila sa consumers - yung interests, yung amortization. So in effect, yung mga tinamaan ng kalamidad na mga consumers natin, sila yung nasalanta, yung nadisgrasya, pero sila rin yung pinapatungan ng additional rates sa rehabilitation at restoration. So ngayon, wala nang additional na patong or burden sa ating mga consumers.

At the same time 11 million member-consumer nationwide will benefit from this, dahil alam naman natin na ang bayan natin is one of the most disaster-prone countries - may lindol, may bagyo, may bulkan. So itong 11-million na ito will now be protected from absorbing rehabilitation and reconstruction of electric cooperatives.

Q: After ng bicam, sir, what goes next?

SEN WIN: The President will have to sign this, and hopefully - I think wala naman siyang ive-veto - ma-sign na niya ito before the SONA so may magandang balita tayo sa 11-million nating member-consumers.

Q: Pero immediately after this, ihahain niyo na ito sa kaniya for signing?

SEN WIN: Yes immediately. Ipapadala na ito sa kanya.

Q: Tama po ba na 725-million yung fund?

SEN WIN: 750-million yung fund. So that's the initial fund for 2018, depending on the situation this year that might increase or decrease. We will give the flexibility to Congress to dictate how much will be appropriated every year.

Q: Na kukunin po sa NDRRMC?

SEN WIN: Right now, kukunin yan sa NDRRMC Fund for the initial funding. May approximately over 7-billion pesos para doon sa sinasabi nating rehabilitation and restoration. So kukunin lang natin doon exclusively for electric cooperatives.

On ERC Governance Act

Q: Doon po sa ERC Governance Act, nasaan na po?

SEN WIN: We are in the process of meeting the technical working group. We have a TWG tomorrow. We are finalizing some of the provisions. Medyo mahaba yun. In fact, maraming contentious issues, but we are happy that the ERC through the Chair, Chairman Devanadera, is cooperating and looking beyond her term. So I really commend her for looking at the ERC as an institution, and looking beyond her stint in the ERC. Dapat tingnan natin yung future, hindi lang kung anong mabuti sa indibidwal kung kung anong mabuti sa institusyon.

On Joint Exploration in South China Sea

Q: Ano po ang role ng Senate?

SEN WIN: I am currently doing my legal research. It is a very tricky subject. Definitely, oil and gas are under the ambit of the Committee on Energy in both Houses, so we have to look at the legalities. Kakaiba ito dahil may geo-political issues. So we are doing a very conservative and thorough analysis on the legal issue. More than anything else, this is a legal issue. Nagko-consult din kami with people who are not only experts in energy but also experts in international law.

Q: Pero what do you know so far? Lifted na ba yung moratorium? May talks na ba between the DOE and the Chinese companies? Kasi we have been hearing and seeing in the news na may developments? May initial talks na po ba?

SEN WIN: Actually initial talks...hindi bago yun ah. During PGMA may initial talks na yan. Maraming initial talks. Puro initial talks na in every administration. I know matagal na yan. I think the basic principle here is if it's within our EEZ then our Constitution should take over as the regulatory framework. So whatever is in our Constitution that regulates oil and gas that should be primordial. So that's the basic concept here.

Ngayon, whether may usap-usapan na it will be a partner with the Chinese concessionaire or developer, wala pa naman tayong naririnig kung paano ang sharing eh. Sino ba ang majority? Sino ba ang minority? So maraming detalye na hindi very clear. So, in the meantime, we are studying very closely kung ano ang mga legal complexities.

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