Study on viability of nuclear energy use set

Published July 29, 2020, 12:06 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling and Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The government is set to conduct a study to determine and develop the national position for a nuclear power program in the country, including the possible use of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

In Executive Order No. 116, President Duterte formed an inter-agency committee to evaluate and assess the need and viability of introducing nuclear power in the country’s power generation mix.

The Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee, to be chaired by the Department of Energy, must take into consideration the economic, security, and environmental implications, as well as engagement of the public and the relevant stakeholders, according to the President.

“The government shall conduct a study for the adoption of a National Position on the Nuclear Energy Program (NEP) in accordance with the pertinent IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) guidelines and relevant laws, rules, and regulations,” the order read.

“There is an imperative need to revisit the country’s policy on nuclear energy and to determine its feasibility as a long term option for power generation,” it added.

In the EO, the President maintained that the State adheres to international standards on the safety, security, and safeguards on peaceful development of nuclear energy. The government is likewise committed to a multi-stakeholders involvement in the development of a national position for the nuclear energy program.

Tax condonation

In another EO, President Duterte ordered the reduction and condonation of real property taxes and penalties assessed on power generation facilities of independent power producers (IPPs) under Build-Operate-Transfer contracts with government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs).

Duterte issued the directive through EO No. 117 that he signed on July 24 but was only made public on Thursday.

Under this EO, all liabilities for real property tax (RPT), including any special levies accruing to the Special Education Fund, for calendar year (CY) 2019, on property, machinery and equipment actually and directly used by IPPs for the production of electricity under a Build-Operate-Transfer scheme and similar, whether denominated Power Purchase Agreements, Energy Conversion Agreements or other contractual agreements, with GOCCs, assessed by local government units (LGUs) and other entities authorized to impose real property tax for all years up to CY 2019, are reduced to an amount equivalent to the tax due if computed based on an assessment level of 15 percent of the fair market value of the property, machinery, and equipment depreciated at the rate of two percent per annum, and less any amount already paid by IPPs.

All interests and penalties on such deficiency RPT liabilities are now condoned and the concerned IPPs are relieved from payment.

All real property tax payments made by the IPPs over and above the reduced amount shall be applied to their real property tax liabilities for the succeeding years.

Concerned government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities, including GOCCs and LGUs, are ordered to comply with Duterte’s order.