Energy department: Energy projects need LGU support-A A +A
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
A NUMBER of proposed power generation projects in Mindanao are not moving as fast as expected because of the challenge of getting through long approval process in many of local government units (LGUs).
This was said on Tuesday by Energy Secretary Rene Almendras at the two-day Top Level Policy Roundtable Discussion (RTD) held in Manila that centered on four major issues Mindanao is currently facing, including energy, mining, transport and logistics, and agriculture.
In his response to the power issues raised by Mindanao stakeholders, Almendras noted that lack of facilitation support from some local government units in Mindanao is one of the major hurdles in the implementation of power projects in the island-region.
Power investment generation was one of the recommendations pushed by the private sector stakeholders to address the power problem in Mindanao during the Roundtable Discussion jointly organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) and the USAid Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program.
“This power shortage situation in Mindanao is of great concern to all of us because it impacts directly on the competitiveness of Mindanao as an investment destination,” said lawyer Miguel Varela, Philippine CCI President.
Almendras however clarified during the RTD that there is no lack of power investment interest in Mindanao.
“We are as a matter of fact receiving several power projects proposal for Mindanao and are fast tracking the approval of these. However, the implementation of these projects is impeded once it reaches the local level. This needs to be addressed first.” Almendras said.
He further reported that there are currently 58 service contracts awaiting LGU actions.
Despite this, Minda chairperson Luwalhati Antonino is optimistic in addressing such bottleneck, and getting the Mindanao LGUs more involved and supportive of this endeavor to achieve reliable and sustainable power in Mindanao.
She further asked the energy players from the government to maintain transparency in terms of information and updates on Mindanao power demand and supply situation, as well as financial figures from Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) on Mindanao generation.
“A lot of doubts in Mindanao have risen because we are not given enough information by our energy bureaucracy,” Antonino said.
DOE has already committed to conduct regular dialogues with the power stakeholders to establish and maintain transparency.
Almendras also assured to make one of the major recommendations of the power stakeholders, which is the one-stop-shop processing center for mini-hydro plants applications, to happen the soonest time possible.
The RTD, a prelude activity to the annual Mindanao Business Conference, is a culmination of the series of regional issues consultations conducted in various regions in Mindanao. This two-day activity serves as an avenue for private sector and government dialogues, specifically on the topmost crucial sectors of Mindanao.
The power sector is one of the four sectors to be discussed in the two-day RTD, along with mining, agriculture, and transportation and logistics sectors.
Outputs from the discussion will be included in the final copy of the business policy agenda, which will be submitted to the President within the month. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 04, 2012.