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DOE urged to streamline permit processing

The Senate has urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to push for the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) that shall streamline approvals and permitting processes for energy sector projects.

Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian said “there are things that the Secretary (Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi) can do very, very fast – red tape is number one.”

The lawmaker expounded “if he (Cusi) can convince the President to come out with an Executive Order just to sort out all of these red tape (in project permitting), that will be a big help.”DOE logo

He said such will be highly feasible, with perception that President Rodrigo Duterte is indeed into strongly exercising the powers of the Executive Branch. The proposed EO delves on treating energy projects to be of ‘national significance’.

“By solving those dilemmas in project permitting alone, I think we can radically transform the power sector,” Gatchalian said.

He cited that for investors to spend 1,300 days average to complete approval processes and in securing all their necessary permits for projects, “that will be a major turn off…who would really want to invest with that extent of red tape?”

Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella responded that the DOE “would be able to push our way into having an EO to streamline project approval processes, but we are also thinking that it will be a more solid policy if we can get it through legislation.”

As a stop-gap measure though and to move things forward, Fuentebella noted that they are now sorting out details for a proposed EO on that sphere.