Palace issues EO streamlining approval of energy projects (Costing at least P3.5 billion)

By Myrna M. Velasco –  June 30, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has issued Executive Order (EO) 30 classifying energy projects to be of national significance, and thus, processes of licensing and permitting on their implementations shall be harmonized and streamlined.

In the Palace Order signed by the President on June 28 this year, it was specified that for a project to be classified of national significance, the scale of capital investment shall be at least R3.5 billion.

EO 30 requires action on project applications at least within 30-day period; and there is also a provision on when such applications shall have “presumption of prior approvals” without awaiting the action of other agencies.

“Government agencies and instrumentalities shall act upon applications for permits involving EPNS (energy projects of national significance) within a specified processing timeframe not exceeding 30 days from the submission of complete documentary requirements.”

And if such application be denied, it was stipulated that “the denial should be made in writing, expressly providing the grounds there for.”

One of the most salient provisions of the EO also sets for the creation of an Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) that will “spearhead and coordinate national government efforts to harmonize, integrate and streamline regulatory processes, requirements and forms relevant to the development of energy investments in the country.

The EICC shall be chaired by a representative of the Department of Energy (DOE) and shall be supported by those from other key government agencies, such as the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Finance, Justice and other relevant agencies as well as key stakeholders in the energy sector, namely the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, National Transmission Corporation, National Power Corporation and the National Electrification Administration.

Aside from the level of capital investment, the other criteria for projects to be qualified of ‘national significance’ shall be their contribution to the country’s economic development and shall have consequential economic impact.

Additionally, they must have potential contribution to the country’s balance of payments; with impact on the environment; may have complex technical processes and engineering designs; and/or they must have significant infrastructure requirements.

Within 30 days from the effectivity of the issued EO, Malacañang has mandated the EICC to “establish a simplified process, and harmonize the relevant rules and regulations of all government agencies involved in obtaining permits and regulatory approvals, to expedite the development and implementation of EPNS and other energy projects.”

The body must also “prepare rules governing the resolution of inter-agency issues affecting the timely and efficient implementation of EPNS and other energy projects.”

The EICC has also been directed to “maintain a database of information and a web-based monitoring system which shall be the vehicle for information exchange on the updates on the applications of EPNS and other energy projects.”

There is also a requirement on the creation of inter-agency sub-committees as may be assessed necessary; and that progress report shall be submitted to the President as to the policy’s outcomes.