PHILIPPINE NATIONAL Oil Co. (PNOC) is leaving the fate of its exploration and renewable energy subsidiaries to the state agency overseeing government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), after a lawmaker called for their consolidation with the parent firm.

“It is not the mother that will decide. It is the GCG (Governance Commission for GOCCs). Not even the mother, not even DoE (Department of Energy) can decide, its only GCG. Kami recommendation lang kami (We can only recommend),” PNOC President and Chief Executive Officer Reuben S. Lista told reporters.

PNOC is an attached agency of the Energy department. The DoE Secretary leads its board as the ex-officio chairman.

His statement came after Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee, said on Tuesday that he would prefer to close down PNOC Renewables Corp. (PNOC RC), which has been losing money. He made that call during a hearing on PNOC’s budget for 2020.

“Of course in the hearing I asked for a turnaround strategy but looking at the business model of PNOC RC, it’s better to close it down,” he said.

He said in the past five years, the PNOC unit lost up to P227 million, which could have been used to build the country’s energy supply base.

“PNOC is tasked to formulate the energy security agenda of the country so they requested for P50 million to do a detailed feasibility study for the entire nation. They will start [in] 2020,” he said.

“This will not be cheap and we don’t want to pass it on to consumers,” he added.

Mr. Gatchalian said PNOC’s other subsidiary PNOC Exploration Corp. could be folded into the parent firm. — Victor V. Saulon