The House committee on appropriations approved a substitute bill which seeks to institutionalize the “Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund” for use in the disaster prevention, management, and mitigation measures of electric cooperatives and for rehabilitation of their infrastructures damaged by force majeure or fortuitous events.
The unnumbered bill endorsed by the committee on energy was approved by the appropriations panel after it finalized Section 11 of the measure pertaining to the allocation of the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund and Section 10 about funding of the proposed Act.
Titled “Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund,” the bill is authored by Reps. Carlos Roman Uybarreta (Party-list, I-CARE), Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO BICOL) and Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Norte Second District Rep. Eric Singson.
The bill declares it is the policy of the State to ensure and accelerate the total electrification of the country and pursue and foster in an orderly and vigorous manner the attainment of such objective.
For this purpose, the State shall support and assist to the fullest extent electric cooperatives adversely affected by a fortuitous event or force majeure to immediately restore electric service, recognizing that the absence of electric service is a national security issue.
The State shall also provide an orderly and continuing means of financial assistance to electric cooperatives in carrying out their responsibility of providing reliable electric service necessary to alleviate the suffering and damage brought about by a fortuitous event or force majeure.
This can be done by allocating funds in the form of grants for disaster mitigation, disaster preparedness, and restoration or rehabilitation of electric cooperatives’ damaged facilities that are readily accessible; providing a streamlined process for the availment of the fund; and requiring the electric cooperatives to develop and implement comprehensive vulnerability risk assessments which identify disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to protect and strengthen critical infrastructure assets, and emergency response plans to address immediate restoration or rehabilitation efforts.
The bill provides for the creation of the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund to be managed and administered by the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
The fund shall be allocated in the following manner: 30 percent for the electric cooperatives’ disaster prevention, disaster preparedness and disaster mitigation measures duly approved by the NEA; 60 percent for the restoration and rehabilitation of the electric cooperatives’ damaged infrastructures after a fortuitous event or force majeure; and 10 percent for the repayment of outstanding obligations of the electric cooperatives, incurred for the purpose of financing the restoration/rehabilitation of their infrastructures damaged by a fortuitous event or force majeure.
In case of a deficiency of the fund allocated for the restoration or rehabilitation of the electric cooperatives’ damaged infrastructure after a fortuitous event or force majeure, the amount intended for the electric cooperatives’ disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation measures, which has not been released by the NEA to the electric cooperatives, shall immediately be re-allocated to cover such shortfall.
The amount necessary to provide funding for the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund shall be taken from the current year’s appropriations of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund. Thereafter, such amounts necessary for the continuous funding of the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
All electric cooperatives are mandated to submit to the NEA and/or update their respective Vulnerability and Risk Assessments, Resilience Compliance Plans, and Emergency Response Plans every year.
Failure to submit such reports shall bar the electric cooperatives from accessing the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund. The NEA shall monitor and evaluate the use and disbursement of the fund base on the Vulnerability and Risk Assessments, Resilience Compliance Plans, and Emergency Response Plans of each electric cooperative.
Based on the said reports, the NEA shall produce a comprehensive National Electric Cooperatives Emergency Resiliency Plan (NECRP) which shall be integrated in the NDRRM Plan provided for under Republic Act No. 10121, otherwise known as “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.”