(Taguig City). Indigenous people (IP) communities are now assured of getting tangible financial benefits from energy infrastructures and facilities that they host as mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi signed a policy (DC2018-03-0005) to enforce compliance with Section 66 and Rule 29(A) of the EPIRA implementing rules and regulation that provide benefits to power infrastructure host communities.
The policy supports the DOE’s mandate to ensure direct benefits to the people and communities, cities, municipalities and provinces up to the regional level that host an energy resource and or an energy-generating facility. This policy will strengthen the cooperation among the energy resource developers or power producers and the host local communities and will fast track the process of providing direct benefits to the Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples.
Under EPIRA, host communities are entitled to receive from the “one centavo per kilowatt-hour (PhP0.01/kilowatt-hour) of the total electricity sales” trust fund that is owned by the power generators and the recipient communities.
The money, under the policy, is allocated for development and livelihood fund (DLF), reforestation, watershed management, health and or environment enhancement fund (RWMHEEF) and electrification fund (EF).
“With this policy, we establish our commitment to boost the inclusion of our indigenous kababayans in the development power projects and the hosting the power generation facility,” said Cusi.
“Primarily, this policy recognizes the rights of the Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples in their ancestral domains and the other benefits that goes with it under the EPIRA and the Indigenous People’s Rights Act,” he added.
The policy covers all legitimate and bonafide Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples that are duly recognized and accredited by the National Commission on Indigenous People, and issued with Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title that hosts the generating facilities and/or energy resources.
Under the policy, DLF and RWMHEEF are allocated as follows: (1) designated resettlement area (5%); (2) host barangay (20%); (3) host municipality (35%); (4) host province/s (30%); (5) host region/s (5%); and (6) host organized indigenous cultural communities and indigenous Peoples (5%) for non-highly urbanized cities.
On the other hand, the sharing of DLF and RWMHEEF for highly urbanized cities is as follow: (1) designated resettlement area (10%); (2) host barangay (30%); (3) host cities (55%) and (4) host organized ICCs/IPs (5%).
The DC2018-03-0005 was signed on 9 February 2018, and its effectivity will be 15 days from its date of publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.