Energy sector seen attracting more investments

By Lenie Lectura – July 16, 2017

from Business Mirror

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy is optimistic that more investors will be encouraged to closely look at the Philippine energy market as the government jump-starts the implementation of vital reforms to eliminate red tape in the energy sector.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian said the government has taken a big step forward in addressing energy sector red tape with the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 30, which streamlines the permitting processes for big-ticket energy projects and mandates strict timeframes for government agencies to act on applications forwarded to their offices.

“EO 30 is a signal to investors that the Philippines is serious about addressing red tape in the energy sector. The executive order will help address immediate red-tape concerns in the permitting process of energy projects, while the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (Evoss) Act of 2017, which I have already sponsored on the Senate floor, makes its way through the legislative process,” Gatchalian said.

The proposed Evoss Act, an integral part of Gatchalian’s legislative agenda for the energy sector, seeks to cut red tape in the permitting process of new power-generation projects through the establishment of an online system that would allow for single submission and synchronous processing of documentary requirements, assessment and payment of charges and fees, status updates and progress monitoring, and a synchronized permitting approval process.

“EO 30 and the Evoss Act are complementary reforms, which will facilitate the entry of more players into the Philippine energy sector. This, in turn, will boost competition, resulting in a more stable power supply and cheaper power costs for consumers,” Gatchalian said.

The senator said the comprehensive Evoss Act will widen the scope of the reforms under EO 30 in several ways, including the appropriation of P50 million annually for the adoption of new technologies and operationalization of the streamlined permitting process; the setting of specific processing procedures and time frames for local government units and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples; and the imposition of administrative penalties for failure to comply with the procedural guidelines and time frames, among others.

“The Duterte administration and the Senate are working hand in hand to provide sufficient and affordable electricity to the Filipino people. Addressing bureaucratic inefficiencies by eliminating red tape will help us achieve this goal. There is much work left to do, but it is clear that we are heading in the right direction,” he said.