Is MORE Power’s expansion bill now a law?

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The bill which seeks to expand the service area of MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) beyond Iloilo City may have lapsed into law if legislative procedure is to be followed.

House Bill No. 10306 secured the 18th Congress’s approval in late May 2022 and was submitted to Malacañang for former Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signature on June 29.

Duterte did not act on the measure when he stepped down on June 30 and was replaced by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In short, the ball is now in Pres. Marcos’s hands.

According to the Philippine Official Gazette, “a bill may be vetoed by the President, but the House of Representatives may overturn a presidential veto by garnering a 2/3rds vote. If the President does not act on a proposed law submitted by Congress, it will lapse into law after 30 days of receipt.”

Veto refers to the President’s power to disapprove a law, either its parts or entirety, duly approved by the legislative branch.

In a previous interview with Daily Guardian on Air, Atty. Allana Babayen-on, MORE Power corporate counsel, said HB 10306 could lapse into law if Pres. Marcos does not expressly veto the measure by way of informing the House and the Senate.

HB 10306 seeks to amend Republic Act 11212, which granted MORE Power the franchise to distribute power in Iloilo City, by expanding its service areas to the towns of Alimodian, Anilao, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Dueñas, Dumangas, Leganes, Leon, New Lucena, Pavia, San Enrique, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Zarraga, and the component city of Passi.

The bill was authored in the 18th Congress by Reps. Gorriceta, Braeden John Biron (Iloilo-4th), Julienne Baronda (Iloilo City-Lone), Franz Alvarez (Palawan-1st), Edward Maceda (Manila-4th), Luis Ferrer (Cavite-6th), and Jericho Nograles (PBA Party-List).

So far, Marcos has only vetoed a bill seeking to expand the franchise area of Davao Light and Power Co. in Northern Davao area.

Daily Guardian again reached out to Gorriceta for updates, but he was also clueless on Malacañang’s decision.

Gorriceta authored the bill following calls from several municipal councils urging Congress to allow MORE Power to serve consumers in their areas.

Among the town councils that made the request to Congress are Pavia, Leganes, Zarraga, Dumangas, and Barotac Nuevo.

The councils said MORE Power’s track record in providing good service and affordable electricity to Iloilo City residents motivated them to make the request.