Integrated permits setup in energy projects rushed


ENERGY Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla reiterated over the weekend the importance of an integrated permitting process involving energy-related projects.

“With heightened investor interest in energy projects, it is crucial to speed up the  contactless processes and approvals for the benefit of the people and the host  communities,” Lotilla said.

His statement comes after Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin directed national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) to closely coordinate with the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to streamline their permitting processes and requirements for energy projects and integrate the same into the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (EVOSS) System.

Bersamin directed ARTA to develop a model or an ordinance for adoption by LGUs, including the integration of the national energy plans into the local development plans, and establish a unified and streamlined permitting process to enable LGUs to maximize the benefits from hosting energy projects.

The Executive Secretary also directed member agencies to designate a point  person to lead in instituting compliance with the EVOSS System, including the monitoring and timely submission of electronic documents.

Lotilla said the DOE-Investment Promotions Office (DOE-IPO), acting as the EVOSS Secretariat, has been working with member agencies to identify roadblocks and changes in permitting processes, including setting and tracking timeline goals and encouraging online payment system.

The DOE-IPO has also been facilitating investor concerns for the energy sector.

The DOE and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-01, which directs LGUs to implement unified, streamlined, and transparent permitting processes and corresponding fees and incorporate the same into the EVOSS system.

Bersamin earlier convened the EVOSS Steering Committee, headed by the Office of the President, with the Secretary of Energy as Vice Chairperson.

Its member agencies include the Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Information and Communications Technology; Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples  (NCIP), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and ARTA.

Additional members are representatives from the power generation, transmission, and distribution sectors.

The EVOSS mandate was also expanded to cover the permitting requirements prescribed under RA 11592 or the LPG Regulation Industry Act, RA 11646 or the Microgrid Systems Act, RA 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA), and the upstream energy development projects.

The permitting processes under these laws are now being integrated into the system by the DOE-IPO.

The DOE said the permitting process for energy projects is multilayered and the array of permits, consultations, and assessments for any type of energy technology project can be a challenge.