House panel creates TWG to discuss proposed amendments to PNOC charter

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The House Energy Committee has created a technical working group to fine-tune the proposed amendments to the Philippine National Oil Company's charter.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) — The House Energy Committee has created a technical working group to fine-tune the proposed amendments to the Philippine National Oil Company's charter.

House Bill 8762 seeks to amend Presidential Decree 334, or the PNOC's charter, to grant it additional powers and incentives to do its mandate related to energy exploration, exploitation, development, storage, as well as transportation.

During a committee hearing Tuesday, PNOC Division Chief Antonio Buenviaje asked lawmakers to reconsider HB 8762's provision requiring the agency to submit its proposed budget to Congress annually for approval. Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, however, said the House of Representatives and Senate need to exercise their oversight functions.

Rodriguez assured the PNOC that its budget submission will not lead to a delay in its operations.

Meanwhile, Oil Industry Management Bureau Director Rino Abad was hopeful the bill will include provisions to highlight the PNOC's role in creating the country's strategic oil reserves.

Abad said the PNOC is already taking the lead in implementing the Department of Energy's circular in creating strategic petroleum reserves, which the country can tap in cases of emergency.

"We would appreciate much for the energy committee [that] these kinds of functions will clearly be established in their charter," he said.

CNN Philippines' Xianne Arcangel and Vince Ferreras contributed to this report.