March 15, 2019
PresidenT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill that seeks to modernize and streamline the process of power generation, transmission and distribution.
The law would establish the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (Evoss) to allow the coordinated submission and synchronous processing of all required data and information.
The online platform will also provide a single decision-making portal for actions on applications for permits and/or certifications necessary for, or related to, an application of a proponent for new power generation, transmission, or distribution projects.
The Evoss would also ensure the “secure, accessible and paperless” processing of documentary requirements, assessment and payment of charges and fees, status updates and progress monitoring not only for applicants, but also for national and local government offices and entities involved in the permitting process of energy generation projects.
The shop will be managed and maintained by the Department of Energy. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee, estimated that the Evoss Act would reduce consumer electricity prices by as much as P1 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the long run.
With an average household consumption rate of 200 kWh per month, he noted that this would result in savings of P2,400 per household every year.
Duterte also signed RA 11231 or the “Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act,” which aims to make agricultural land freely tradeable.
RA 11231 removes restrictions on agricultural free patents imposed under the Commonwealth Act 141 or the “Public Land Act.”
These restrictions prohibit land owners to sell and mortgage the land within the first five years of the patent grant, and gives the option to the original owner of buying back the property within five years from the date of sale.
Sen. Richard Gordon, who authored the bill in the Senate, earlier said the measure would help boost development in the agricultural sector as it was expected to “unleash about two to three million agri-free patents, equivalent to at least P387 billion up to P1 trillion worth of agricultural land.”
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