THE chair of the Senate’s energy committee has revived calls for the creation of a think tank for the energy sector, to help deal with energy crises such as oil price shocks arising from any disruption in the supply of crude from the Middle East.

In a statement, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said he filed Senate Bill No. 172, which if passed will be known as An Act Creating the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute (PERPI).

“The vision for this bill is really to enable the government and the academe to level up the knowledge base and the research capabilities of the energy sector,” he said.

He said an energy research and policy center could help draft policy that will insulate the country from supply shocks.

“The creation of PERPI is crucial for the country since we are dependent on a lot of importation when it comes to energy. Over the weekend, the attack on Saudi oil refineries leaves us vulnerable to a supply shock,” he said.

SB 172 authorizes the creation of PERPI at the University of the Philippines. It will conduct multidisciplinary energy research, develop viable technology, and aid the government in energy policy-making.

“The energy sector is naturally characterized by rapidly changing technology, which necessitates continuous study and research. The results of these inquiries are crucial in ensuring that energy policy is responsive to the evolving landscape of the energy sector and its effect on consumers,” Mr. Gatchalian said.

The bill appropriates P200 million for the initial funding of the think tank. An endowment will also be established to support the institute’s research. — Victor V. Saulon