Du30 signs EPIRA amendment enhancing congressional oversight


Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill that will enhance the powers and functions of the Joint Congressional Energy Commission (JCEC).

Signed on Tuesday, Republic Act (RA) 11571 amends Section 62 of RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). It provides that the JCEC shall exercise its oversight functions in the implementation of all existing energy-related laws, except RA 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006 since it has a separate oversight body. 

The law also gives the JCEC the authority to conduct hearings and receive testimony, reports, and technical advice. The commission may likewise invite or summon any public official or private citizen to testify before it; and require any person to produce records or documents as needed.

RA 11571 likewise removes the JCEC’s ten-year lifespan, as stipulated in the EPIRA, which was enacted in 2001. The commission’s existence was extended by a joint resolution by the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2011.

The JCEC will still be assisted by a secretariat to be composed of personnel who may be seconded from both chambers of Congress. It may also continue to retain consultants. The secretariat will still be headed by an executive director “who has sufficient background and competence on the policies and issues relating to electric industry reforms.”

Lawmakers in both the Senate and the House have pushed for the JCEC’s permanency given the many concerns facing the country’s energy sector.