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The serious concern about power supply shortfall in Luzon in 2015-2016, a similar potential shortfall in the Visayas and the ongoing shortage in Mindanao is definitely a deafening sound for action, a deliberate one that does not need to raise the panic button among the public, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said in a statement today.

This challenge we face now does not come as a surprise, PCCI said. The largest business organization in the country explained that over the last four to five years, the power supply and demand situation has been extensively presented and discussed in several consumers, business and government fora both, separately and jointly.

With the supply shortfall escalating into brownouts in Luzon and finally putting everyone on the same page, PCCI is calling for all stakeholders to act in unison in addressing the issue on hand.

From the combined economic, industry, investment and even political view, there appears to be two (2) basic distinct critical periods or challenges to address - the 2015-16 period and post-2016 and forward.

The first has to be confronted with basic "stop-gap" or "band-aiding" measures. This situation is like a golf ball lying 6 inches from the hole. It is a "give" situation and there is no need to tap it in, meaning any steps taken to cure, to bridge or aid the gap would be acceptable to all. There is no need to declare a national emergency.

The second is different because it must be addressed by way of a well-laid out plan that is shared with all stakeholders and which government could smoothly and competently implement through the grant of emergency powers to the President, if the plan would warrant the declaration of a state of emergency. Without such a well-laid plan behind it, declaring a state of emergency would be dangerous and could eventually be counter-productive as we have experienced before.

The PCCI pointed out that the private sector has submitted several proposals to entice investments and improve generation adequacy including aggregating the demand of distribution utilities, opening the generation market to competitive bidding and streamlining the business permitting and licensing system. National government, PCCI said should begin to earnestly consider these proposals and develop them into a roadmap consistent with the goals of adequate and reliable power supply and competitive power rate.

The situation can be adequately solved without need for amending the EPIRA, which would create unnecessary restlessness and uncertainties and slow down the present market and investment momentum. The same situation may be expected should a national emergency that is not founded on any solid plan is declared.

PCCI believes that with the exercise of strong and reasonable political leadership and will, both issues can be effectively overcome and thereby provide assurance of better power supply and price competitiveness ahead.

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