Gov’t seeking funds to pay P1.26-B Napocor diesel debt, legislator says

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is seeking out funding sources to settle the National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) P1.26-billion debt to Petron Corp., its diesel supplier, to keep blackouts in the south of the country from worsening, a legislator said.

Basilan Rep. Mujiv S. Hataman said in a statement on Monday that he was present at a briefing conducted by Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman before the House of Representatives on Aug. 26.

“We received the same information from (Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla). We are just waiting for the request if we can find funding for the fuel charges, I think it is roughly P1 billion until the end of the year,” Ms. Pangandaman was quoted as saying, adding that she has spoken with Mr. Lotilla on the matter.

Mr. Hataman, a former governor for the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, met with Napocor officials on power outages in Basilan.

“That’s why we made sure to follow up the request with the DBM, so that (Napocor) can deal with the possible power crisis in (Basilan) and other areas,” the congressman said.

Mr. Hataman said Napocor’s debt position was exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Napocor asked to avail of Unprogrammed Funds in the 2022 General Appropriations Act and sought a P1.3-billion National Government subsidy in line with those granted in prior years.

Basilan’s power plants, consisting of one diesel power plant and two power barges, are controlled by Napocor’s Small Power Utilities Group. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo