'Filipino gas first:' Natural gas bill moves in Senate

‘Filipino gas first:’ Natural gas bill moves in Senate

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 10:18 AM March 05, 2024

'Filipino gas first:' Natural gas bill moves in Senate

MANILA, Philippines — A measure which is seen to reduce the costs of electricity and create more jobs for Filipinos has started to move in the Senate.

Senate Bill No. 2247 or “An act promoting the development of the Philippine downstream natural gas industry” was tackled on Monday by a technical working group (TWG) of the Senate committee on energy joint with the ways and means and finance panels.


The measure was filed in May last year by Senator Raffy Tulfo, chairman of the committee on energy.


“The end goal of all our energy bills is to drive down the [energy] prices,” according to Tulfo’s special legal counsel, Atty. Gareth Tungol, in an interview after the TWG’s meeting.

Tungol presided over the meeting on behalf of the senator.

In the same interview, he underscored the urgent need to pass the measure, saying that developing the country’s natural gas industry “is critical to driving investments that will enhance national energy security, reduce electricity costs and create more jobs for Filipinos.”

Tulfo’s bill seeks to promote the development of a comprehensive, and integrated legislative policy that aids in the rapid development of the country’s natural gas sector.

It also added “priority” dispatch for indigenous natural gas to encourage more investments in the development of indigenous gas resources, Tungol pointed out.

“Pagdating sa mga gagamit ng fuel for gas-fired power plants, mauuna yung gas ko kapag galing dito ‘yung gas ko, di ba?” he said, “We are not prioritizing blindly; we are prioritizing Filipino gas first. ‘Yun ang policy namin because naniniwala kami na dapat hindi ang first step ay importation.”


(When it comes to users of fuel for gas-fired power plants, my gas will come first if it’s from here, right? We are not prioritizing blindly; we are prioritizing Filipino gas first. That’s our policy because we believe that importation should not be the first step.)

“I think ‘yun ‘yung best driver ng investment natin dahil instead na mag-invest sila sa importation, mag-invest sila sa facilities, sa mga infrastructure. So may trabaho plus may foreign investment,” the TWG chairman added.

(I think that’s the best driver of our investment because instead of investing in importation, they invest in facilities, in infrastructure. So there are jobs plus foreign investment.)

READ: House approves 2 Ledac priority bills, more to follow

Tungol said using coal is also “a lot more ecologically damaging” and more expensive than natural gas.

“When you fire up a coal power plant, hindi ‘yan parang light switch no, it takes a while to ramp up, to heat up, to generate energy. It also takes a while to adjust that energy, so pag nag-iba ‘yung energy demand, minsan naiiwan ‘yung production ng coal, nagkaka-brown out tayo,” he said.

“Ang natural gas, kasi yung planta niyan, mabilis ang transition, so mabilis tayong makaagap, kung kulang yung kuryente sa isang lugar. As long as the grid is connected, pwede ka magbato agad ng excess kuryente dun sa kabila,” he further said.

(Since the plant’s transition of natural gas is fast, we can quickly respond if there’s a shortage of electricity in one area. As long as the grid is connected, you can immediately give excess electricity to the other side.)

Aside from energy security, Tungol noted that the development of the natural gas industry in the country would have a “trickle-down effect” through generation of jobs.

“Kapag nag-invest ‘yung malaking corporation, they will need people to work for them, Filipinos ‘yan most likely ang magtatrabaho para sa kanila. It’s not only income generating for the investors, but it’s also job generating for our country,” he said.

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(When a large corporation invests, they will need people to work for them, and most likely Filipinos will be the ones to work for them. It’s not only income-generating for the investors, but it also creates jobs for our country.)

A counterpart measure was already approved by the House of Representatives in August last year.

TAGS: Natural Gas, Senate

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