DOE to propose nuclear, strategic petroleum reserves creation to next admin

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
DOE to propose nuclear, strategic petroleum reserves creation to next admin
This April 2014 file photo shows the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute in Quezon City. According to its website, the agency is mandated to "undertake research and development activities in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, to institute regulations on the said uses and to carry out the enforcement of said regulations to protect the health and safety of radiation workers and the general public."
Creative Commons / Philippine Nuclear Research Institute

MANILA, Philippines — Days after the 2022 polls, the Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed that it will be suggesting to the new administration to pursue a national nuclear energy program and the establishment of strategic petroleum reserves (SPR), among others.

"[They]...are part of the inputs of the bureaus for the next administration," DOE spokesperson Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said in a briefing on Friday, in response to a question on whether the creation of a nuclear energy program as well as SPRs are included in the agency's proposal.

Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order which establishes the country's nuclear energy program, and that nuclear should account for a part of the country's energy mix, currently dominated by coal. 

RELATED: It's too late for Duterte's nuclear energy push as term nears end

An SPR, which will be implemented by the state-run Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC), seeks to reduce prices and supply shocks from oil imports. Before establishing an SPR, the PNOC and DOE have to conduct an 18-month feasibility study and approve its work program and budget a year after.

Fuentebella also stressed there are other pressing energy-related issues that need to be addressed in the country, such as the need to develop more indigenous or local sources of energy, and the continuation of exploration activities.

He explained that all their inputs are being collated and finalized. 

We welcome any new appointee

Fuentebella said that "any appointee of the incoming president will be welcomed" by the agency.

"We leave it to the wisdom of the incoming president whom to appoint," he said, referring to the appointment of the incoming DOE Secretary.

Once in power, the Philippine president can recommend to the Commission on Appointments a list of individuals whom they are eyeing to lead various departments in the government.

Unverified lists about the recommended Cabinet members of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong", who is leading by a wide margin in the 2022 polls, earlier made rounds online. It was said that Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, who currently chairs the House Committee on Energy and is the son of former president Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, is being eyed to be the next energy chief. 

Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said, however, on Friday that there is no truth to these circulating lists, other than their plans to install likely vice president Sara-Duterte Carpio as Education Secretary and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos as head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

"Walang listahan (There is no list)...We are in the process of searching and looking out for possible nominees for different Cabinet position[s], and I don't think anyone should expect [that] it can be announced in one setting because, as you know, the vetting process takes time and the appointing and nominating someone- it's not a one way-thing. It has to be accepted and it has to be offered," he said in a briefing. 

The national and local polls took place on May 9.

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