Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi met with National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Chairperson Allen A. Capuyan to discuss the issues involving delays in securing permits for energy projects.
Secretary Cusi said that this is in line with the mechanisms being put in place by the DOE to ensure that energy projects will come in on time, in support of the country’s goals for economic and infrastructure development.
Under the Republic Act 8371, or the “The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997”, all project developers are required to secure from the NCIP, Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and other clearances from the indigenous communities inhabiting the area where the project will be situated.
“It is very important that we work on how we can promote our indigenous resources, and we hope that by forging a stronger working relationship with the NCIP, we will be able to address the issues causing delays in securing clearances from their office,” Secretary Cusi said.
During the meeting, the Energy Chief also emphasized the importance of proper coordination among concerned government agencies, project proponents and indigenous communities in the utilization and development of natural resources.
The DOE and NCIP agreed to establish a Technical Working Group for the close coordination and streamlining of processes, such as drafting a checklist/template in evaluating energy projects.
Prior to this meeting, the DOE has been striving to establish a more rationalized business environment for the energy sector. With this goal, the DOE has initiated the issuance of Executive Order 30, which declares big-ticket energy projects to be of national significance and giving these projects a processing time of 30 days.
Secretary Cusi is also the Vice-Chairperson of the Steering Committee for the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop Act or Republic Act 11234, which streamlines the permitting process of energy projects. The DOE likewise serves as the Committee’s Secretariat.