Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile called on the Duterte administration to quickly address the looming energy crisis that might be aggravated by energy demands of the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
“We do not have any source of hydrocarbon energy in the country except Malampaya. If a war happens in Russia or in the Middle East or in Africa or in Latin America that will affect the supply of crude, what do you think will happen here? In one week’s time, we will not have enough supply of power,” Enrile was quoted as saying in a Manila Bulletin report.
The Malampaya Natural Gas Facility is expected to run out of its reserves by 2024, which will significantly reduce the already low power reserve of the country. About 30 percent of Luzon’s total supply of power comes from Malampaya.
The country’s economic growth, the demand of the manufacturing industry, and the government’s power-intensive infrastructure program has increased the country’s energy demand steadily, the senator noted.
The former acting Finance Secretary and Defense Minister during the Marcos administration also warned against the effects of a potential crisis such as lack of food and other resources in Metro Manila.
He said that the “transport system will not operate without diesel and gasoline”.
Enrile is gunning for a senate seat in the May 2019 midterm elections. Should he make a comeback, he said he would focus on building the country’s energy sources to help the Philippines be more independent from imported fuel for its power requirements.
He noted that sufficient energy supply would protect Filipinos from the effects of oil and other petroleum products’ price hikes in the global market, and help reduce the cost of electricity and other goods.
“We must make sure that there would be enough supply for all our economic activities amid a surge in the costs of oil or even the lack of it,” he was quoted as saying.
The lawmaker also warned against the possibility of conflict between nations as a result of the impending global oil crisis, a reality that lawmakers and industry officials should keep in mind.
“Energy is a problem in this century. That will be a source of wars in this century. Without that, the globe will stop,” Enrile was quoted saying.
“That’s why Russia is now controlling the Arctic Sea because of the scarcity. All of this is finite. ‘Yung crudo is not self-producing. Mauubos ‘yan – even uranium (Crude oil is not self-producing, even uranium),” he added.
Based on records from the Department of Energy, the Philippines remains heavily dependent on imports for petroleum requirements, with as much as 94 percent coming from external resources.
Enrile also noted that the DOE failed to articulate the matter of energy security and sufficiency in its Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2017-2044.
The World Economic Council (WEC) Energy Trilemma Index, which ranks the performance of each country based on energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability, showed the Philippines ranked 74 out of 125 countries in 2018.