House panel OKs bill strengthening PNOC

The House Committee on Energy on Tuesday tasked a technical working group (TWG) to fine-tune a measure that seeks to strengthen the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) to make it more responsive and flexible in terms of its exploration, exploitation, and development.

During a virtual hearing this week, the House panel moved to form the TWG to finalize House Bill 8762, which would further amend Presidential Decree 334 or the PNOC Charter to grant the body additional powers and incentives to effectively and efficiently perform its mandate related to energy exploration, exploitation, development, storage, as well as transportation.

Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, panel chair, said one of the objectives of the bill is to equip the PNOC with the flexibility to endure energy challenges as a business entity making profits for the government.

Arroyo, who also authored the bill, said it aims to make PNOC an active, vigorous, and strong organization fully committed to nation-building.

He said by strengthening the PNOC, energy resources could also be better utilized and meet the growing demands for stable and reliable energy.

Among the additional powers and functions proposed under the bill is establishing and administering a comprehensive and integrated program for the exploration, exploitation, development, and extraction of fossil fuel.

It shall undertake oil, gas, and coal operations under service contracts.

As such, the PNOC is granted a franchise for the development, construction, ownership, and operations of pipelines and all other modes of transportation of energy resources all over the country.

Section 6 of the bill provides that: “The PNOC shall be exempt from submitting its annual budget to Congress for approval. However, a Joint Senate and House Petroleum Oversight Committee shall be created for the purpose of overseeing the operations of PNOC.”

This section and all other stipulations under the measure would be further deliberated upon by the TWG to be chaired by Committee Vice Chairman Hector Sanchez.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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