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Govt to use Malampaya fund to restore power lines in Yolanda-hit areas

The government will be using the Malampaya funds to help restore power in areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda, Budget Secretary Butch Abad said Monday.
During a press conference at the Palace, Abad said they will "definitely" use the Malampaya fund to help fix damaged transmission lines.
"There is a standing authorization that we can use to support or fund the emergency, electricity or power projects and ... as of end of September, we still have enough fiscal space in our fiscal deficit cap ... to accommodate the use of Malampaya fund," he said.
The budget chief made the statement even as the Supreme Court stopped the release of the Malampaya and pork barrel funds last September.
On Monday, Abad said they expect the Supreme Court to come out a decision on the case on Tuesday.
And even without knowing the result of the ruling, he remained confident that they will still have the authority to use the Malampaya fund.
"I don’t think that the Malampaya fund will be declared illegal by itself because it was created in pursuance of a law. I think the question will focus on that all encompassing phrase that gives the President so much latitude to use it as happened in the past," he said.
It's because of this, he said, that they will not use the Malampaya fund for purposes not related to energy because President Benigno Aquino III does not want to "enter into legal problems later on."
"Ang posisyon ng administrasyon ngayon ay doon lamang sa energy resource exploration and development paggagamitan iyong Malampaya funds," he said. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News