Gatchalian proposes think tank for energy security, sustainability

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The Senate Committee on Energy is set to endorse to Congress a proposal seeking to create the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute (PERPI) in a bid to address energy security and sustainability in the country.

Senate Bill (SB) 172 recognized the need for a world-class and independent energy research and policy institute to address the research and policy gaps in the energy sector and to carry out reforms directly benefiting consumers. 

Appropriating P200-M for the initial funding of the think tank,  the bill aims to conduct multidisciplinary energy research, incubate and develop cutting-edge technologies and serve as a sparring partner for the government in the energy policy-making process.

According to a BusinessMirror report, Committee Chairman Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian explained that the fundamental logic of this bill is really to establish an independent research institute that will be a sparring partner for the government to complement or to provide check and balance in policies that will ultimately lead to the energy independence of the people. 

It is noted in the bill that PERPI will be established at the University of the Philippines (UP) and will be comprised of scholars and energy sector professionals. Moreover, it is also noted that the UP President will have the power to appoint the executive director per recommendations of the advisory council.

Gatchalian explained that the Philippines can adapt and learn from the experiences of US and Singapore where majority of their energy research institutes are under reputable universities. 

During a Senate hearing regarding the bill, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Cynthia Bautista stated that the university has a pool of experts that can provide their expertise in providing and crafting independent research policies.

“UP is a public-service institution. Its mandate is not just a research or graduate university – it’s also a public service university. As a national university, we have to serve our country. That is the kind of service we can offer,” Bautista was quoted as saying in the report.

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