Byline: MYRNA M. VELASCO
Despite Constitutional question raised by Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE) is still strongly pushing for the immediate promulgation of its self-devised circular to govern the development of the natural gas industry.
In a press statement, Energy Secretary Vicente Perez, Jr. divulged that the revised circular will empower the energy department to issue permits for the construction, maintenance and operation of gas pipelines.
He further noted that the circular is based on Executive Order No. 66, issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which mandates the DOE "to act as the lead government agency in ensuring a coordinated effort towards establishing a successful and robust natural gas industry."
Perez noted that the additional inputs in the revised natural gas rules came from the recentlyconcluded seminar-workshop sponsored by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation-Implementation Facilitation Assistance Team.
The energy chief claimed that pursuant to EO 66, the DOE is empowered to draft the appropriate policy statements, industry rules and guidelines and other issuances in order to facilitate and encourage private sector investment in the emerging natural gas industry.
The issuance of permits for the distribution and transmission natural gas pipelines appeared as the most controversial provisions in the Circular, as this is seen to encroach on the powers of Congress to issue franchises for the operation of public utilities.
Because of this, the energy department was earlier requested by Rep. …