Press Release
November 24, 2015

Tap P170 B Malampaya fund for saltwater lamp production

Government is awash with idle funds -- with the P168.9 billion Malampaya royalties as the biggest -- which could bankroll the development and mass production of the Sustainable Alternative Light or SALt lamps, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto said.

"If you look at government finances, there should be no problem in finding money for these saltwater lamps," Recto said.

"You don't even have to seek budget from Congress because some of these funds are off-budget, meaning they can be tapped without having to go through the annual appropriations route, like the Malampaya royalty remittances," he explained.

Recto was referring to the government share from the production of the Malampaya natural gas field off the coast of Northern Palawan.

The fund posted an outstanding balance of P168.9 billion as of May 31, 2015.

Since 2002, government has received a total of P210.9 billion from the production well's operator. Releases from this fund reached P42 billion, Recto said, citing an official Bureau of Treasury report.

Next year, Malampaya remittances are projected to hit P34.7 billion. "This means on a daily basis, Malampaya is pumping P91.7 million into the government coffers," Recto said.

Government's "daily windfall alone is more than enough" to finance the development of SALt's full potential, Recto said.

"If reports are true that P20 million is what the developers initially need to jumpstart the lamp's production, then just six hours' worth of Malampaya would be enough," Recto said.

One saline solution-powered lamp, which can produce up to 90 lumens of light, is said to cost $20, plus $3 every six months for the replacement anode.

Its developer, engineer Aisa Mijeno, said her group would welcome financial grants so they can mass produce it.

Recto said government should approach Mijeno and offer her joint venture engagements. "Lack of funds cannot be invoked as a reason because clearly they're available."

Aside from Malampaya proceeds, Recto said the Department of Science and Technlogy's (DOST) P19.1 billion budget for 2016 features "grants to technology startups, assistance to inventors."

He said the Senate has called the attention of the DOST "to immediately reach out to Mijeno for the possibility of her project being given support."

The Department of Energy (DOE) will also receive P2.84 billion to bring electricity to 3,150 hard-to-reach households, according to a Department of Budget Management (DBM) briefer.

On top of this, the DOE would also energize 5,400 households in off-grid sitios.

"Baka dito pwede nila maimbita si Engineer Mijeno para makatulong. Yung off-grid areas usually mga isla iyon. So kung napapaligiran ng dagat, nandoon na mismo ang power source," Recto said.

Recto said the SALt project would qualify for Malampaya funding under Presidential Decree No. 910, which states that government share from the exploitation of energy resources can be used to finance energy programs.

News Latest News Feed