Former DOE USec: Only Php51.9M used in nuclear energy policy


Only Php 51.9 million was spent during the preparation and crafting of the nuclear energy policy framework during the Duterte Administration, a former Department of Energy (DOE) official said. 

In a report by the Manila Bulletin, former Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only released more than Php 51 million versus the allotted budget of Php 266 million for DOE’s nuclear power study. The utilization of the budget spread from 2017 to 2022. 

Erguiza said that the nuclear infrastructure development program was anchored on four cornerstones: the crafting of the national policy through the issuance of Executive Order 164 by former president Rodrigo Duterte, alignment of global and international standards with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and also with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the conduct of stakeholder survey to assess the public’s stance on nuclear power development, and the lodging of proposed legislations in the Congress in order to set out legal and regulatory framework for nuclear power investments. 

Erguiza said that “various significant milestones and outputs have been accomplished” in the cornerstones “that could pave the way to the eventual inclusion of nuclear energy” in the mix. However, it is unclear if the Duterte Administration had a tangible study output written and accessible to policymakers and the public. 

Earlier, Senate Committee on Energy chairman Sen. Raffy Tulfo had asked the DOE to submit the nuclear power development study. Energy Secretary Lotilla, however, said that they’re still finding out if “there was an output.” 

Erguiza added that a study was also done by the IAEA, but no other detail was given including who funded the study. 

In his first State of the Nation Address, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that there is a need to reexamine the country’s strategy in building nuclear power plants.