By Myrna M. Velasco
With streamlined evaluation and approval processes, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has directed subordinates to have all pending permits and project contracts acted upon prior to the end of the year.
Through a Department Order (DO), the energy chief sternly instructed his officials to hasten process “for the awarding and administration of service/operating contracts, as well as the issuance of permits, endorsements, or certifications for energy projects.”
He primarily ordered all of his energy officials “to ensure that all pending items are acted upon on or before 20 December 2019.”
The DOE is the agency overseeing the permitting and licensing requirements for power projects; the issuance of service contracts for renewable energy (RE) ventures as well as those on upstream oil and gas projects.
Cusi has reiterated the mandate of the Duterte administration on eradicating red tape or the multi-layered bureaucracy of project approvals, as such could basically deter investors from flowing capital into energy projects.
“We at the DOE have been striving to help fully realize this vision by streamlining our processes, most especially those involving the service or operating contracts,” Cusi said.
It has to be noted that multitudes of complaints from energy investors delve with the very slow pace of project approvals – including pendency of applications or unattended sets of correspondence that oftentimes are also pending with the Office of the Secretary.
In particular, Cusi has “instructed all Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, and concerned Bureau Directors to submit an inventory of all pending applications for service/operating contracts.”
He further ordered that such reports must include their dates of application, status as well as the actions already taken by corresponding units of the department.
The energy chief has similarly required his subalterns to turn in “status reports on all existing service contracts.”
Cusi emphasized the energy department is “undertaking all measures that would maximize our operational efficiency,” while expounding that “these inventories would guide us in making sure that all pending action items are acted upon before 2019 comes to a close.”