Thinktank urges Congress to review EO on nationally significant energy projects

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Local thinktank Infrawatch PH has called on the Congress to assess the provisions of Executive Order (EO) No.30, citing its ineffectivity to actually address the country’s growing power demand.

EO No. 30 dictates the permitting process of nationally significant energy projects and allows for prioritization and fast tracking of qualified energy projects.

“EO No. 30 has only been successful in creating another unnecessary bureaucratic layer in the permitting process for energy projects, as apparently, several projects remain pending for approval at the Energy Regulatory Commission. Interestingly, the ERC is not included among the agencies tasked to expedite the approvals process even if projects are deemed ‘nationally significant,'” said Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former urban poor chief.

Formerly a member of the House energy committee, Ridon added that the EO failed to include the Energy Regulatory Commission among the agencies that will be required to fast-track approvals.

“The real bottleneck in the permitting process is actually at the level of the ERC, particularly in the approvals process of pending power supply agreements (PSAs). As an agency within the executive department, it should not unilaterally exempt itself from the permitting timelines ordered by no less than President Duterte.”

Ridon added for as long as all discussions and objections had already been exhausted by all concerned parties, the ERC should be able to decide on pending petitions within a reasonable timeline.

“We are doing a disservice to the public and to clarion call of the President if the permitting process in addressing the country’s power demand gets delayed for months, even years.”