By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11234 or the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act which aims to streamline the permitting process of power generation, transmission, and distribution projects in the Philippines.
The law, signed by the President on March 8, is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1439 and House Bill No. 8417.
RA 11234 is said to be a landmark anti-red tape measure seeking to modernize and streamline the permitting process of power generation, transmission, and distribution projects in the country.
The measure establishes a Shop under the Department of Energy (DOE). It will establish an online platform called the EVOSS where prospective developers can apply, monitor, and receive all the needed permits and applications, submit all documentary requirements, and even pay for charges and fees.
It will also supply an online platform for government agencies to coordinate and share information, as well as, provide a paperless and electronic application and processing system in the application for a new generation, transmission, or distribution project.
The EVOSS will utilize an online payment system for all fees imposed for applications for permits and/or certifications related to applications for power generation, transmission or distribution process.
To further speed up the process, all government agencies involved will be required to follow a strict time frame to act on pending applications.
The failure of an agency to act within the prescribed time frame will result in the automatic approval of said application and potential administrative sanctions against inefficient public officers to penalize the delay.
“Failure of the mother agency and its attached bureaus, offices, and agencies, at both the national and local levels, including GOCCs, to release its action on applications duly filed with complete supporting documents within the prescribed time frame shall deem such applications approved,” the new law states.
On the other hand, private entities – the system operator and market operator – who fail to act within the prescribed time frame will be slapped with a P100,000 fine per day of delay.
Meanwhile, the operations of the EVOSS will be supervised by a Steering Committee for the first two years of its implementation. It will be chaired by the Office of the President. The Secretary of the DOE will serve as Vice-Chairperson.
Other members are the departments of Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Information and Communications Technology (DICT); chairpersons of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); and Executive Director of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)