The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the ad interim appointments of Department of Energy (DOE) Sec. Raphael Lotilla, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Sec. Renato Solidum, and Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Sec. Ivan John Uy.
The CA, however, deferred the confirmation of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Jaime Bautista.
The CA also confirmed the interim appointments of 13 ambassadorial positions. It also gave its nod to the appointment of other Department of Foreign Affairs officials.
After three hearings, Lotilla finally got the nod of the members of the CA.
During the third and last hearing, the CA panel asked Lotilla’s commitment to review some of the existing policies at the energy department.
Among the commitments made by Lotilla is to review the operation of the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM). He committed to striving hard to reduce the cost of electricity and vowed to fix the structural reforms in the offices under the DOE.
He also vowed to remain independent although he was a former official of Aboitiz , an electric service company.
CA members also requested Lotilla to inquire into the policy in choosing the president of electric cooperatives.
Sen. JV Ejercito questioned Lotilla about his plans to address global warming. Lotilla guaranteed that the country’s commitment targetting to use renewable energy continues.
He related that in 2030, the DOE’s target is to use 35% renewable energy in the country’s energy mix. He said the DOE hopes to increase the use of renewable energy to 50% in 2040 which is the direction of the country toward a cleaner energy.
Panel members meanwhile asked DOST chief Solidum about food and astronauts.
Rep.Rodante Marcoleta asked Solidum on the foods of astronauts who remain “full” despite not eating for several days. He raised the possibility of inventing such foods which can be fed to the poor.
“I am thinking aloud if we can invent the foods being eaten by them (astronauts), do we give them to our poor countrymen even for months, they won’t eat, they won’t die. Do we have these (kind of foods)? Can we make them?” Marcoleta said.
Solidum said our country only has ready-to-eat meals distributed during calamities. He said this can last for only 6 months.
“We have to look into that because we are into nutrition and food security, so will ask our scientists what their long term program is…food security availability of nutritious food is really the concern of DOST,” he added.
On the other hand, the CA asked Bautista to come back next week to answer further questions from CA members.