Aquino rejects Petilla resignation

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(UPDATED) President Aquino rejects the resignation of his energy chief

KEEPING HIS POST. Energy Secretary Petilla says power in all areas struck by Yolanda has been restored.Photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla will keep his job after all.

“The President did not accept the resignation of Petilla,” Malacañang said in a statement Thursday, December 26. Petilla earlier said he intends to quit after failing on his promise to restore power to Yolanda-hit areas.

But the President is “cognizant of the fact that according to original estimates, it would take 3-6 months to restore power in town centers, considering the extent of the damage caused by Supertyphoon Yolanda: the Luzon-Visayas connection was down, the major geothermal plant in Leyte was also down; and generation, transmission and distribution lines were down,” the statement added.

The announcement came after the President’s meeting with Petilla in Malacañang.

The President found Petilla’s performance post-Yolanda as “excellent,” the statement said. It cited 2 reasons: “First, from his original target of six months he was able to restore power in roughly 40 days. Second, within that period, Secretary Petilla was able to energize 317 out of 320 affected towns, leaving 0.93% still to accomplish.” 

Citing foreign observers who have inspected the work being done in Yolanda-hit areas, the President said they “pointed out that repair and rehabilitation of energy infrastructure was done faster.”

“For all these reasons, the President, in rejecting Secretary Petilla’s offer to resign, reiterated that he has no intention of losing the services of an honorable public servant,” the statement said.

November threat

A party mate of Aquino, Petilla is former governor of Leyte, which was badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). He was appointed energy secretary in 2012, prompting him to drop plans to run for congress in May 2013.

Petilla earlier vowed to resign should the Department of Energy fail to restore power to all areas devastated by Yolanda by Christmas eve.

“Do you want my position if I don’t make it by December 24? You will have it…. I’ll submit my resignation if that is what you want,” Petilla told reporters in Palo, Leyte, last November 18.

On Wednesday, however, he said 3 towns hit by Yolanda remained without access to electricity. Because of this, he said he would be tendering his resignation. “I will have no word of honor if I stay on and in public service, word of honor is extremely important,” he said.

When asked if it’s irrevocable he told reporters, “I guess so, but I will give the President enough time to look for replacement.”

Yolanda has killed more than 6,000 people and affected 4 million others.

By Christmas eve, most households in Leyte and Samar remained without electricity. (READ: Dark Christmas for Yolanda survivors) –

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