THE Department of Energy (DoE) said a circular recently signed by the secretary has assured indigenous communities “tangible financial benefits” as their share of the funds from the energy infrastructure and facilities that they host.
“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 DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi in a statement during the weekend.
The circular — DC2018-03-0005 — is meant to enforce compliance with Section 66 and Rule 29(A) of the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA). The provisions provide benefits to power infrastructure host communities.
“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,” Mr. Cusi.
The DoE said the policy supports its mandate to ensure direct benefits to the people and communities, cities, municipalities and provinces up to the regional level that host an energy resource or an energy-generating facility.
The policy will strengthen the cooperation among the energy resource developers or power producers and the host local communities. It will also fast-track the process of providing direct benefits to the indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples, it added.
Under EPIRA, host communities are entitled to receive from the “one centavo per kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kilowatt-hour) of the total electricity sales” trust fund that is owned by the power generators and the recipient communities.
The fund is allocated for development and livelihood, reforestation, watershed management, health and or environment enhancement fund, and electrification initiatives.
The policy covers all legitimate and bonafide indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples that are recognized and accredited by the National Commission on Indigenous People, and issued with Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title that hosts the generating facilities or energy resources.
Under the policy, development and livelihood fund and reforestation, watershed management, health and or environment enhancement fund are allocated the following:
• designated resettlement area (5%);
• host barangay (20%);
• host municipality (35%);
• host province/s (30%);
• host region/s (5%); and
• host organized indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples (5%) for non-highly urbanized cities.
The sharing for highly urbanized cities is as follow:
• designated resettlement area (10%);
• host barangay (30%);
• host cities (55%); and
• host organized indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples (5%). — Victor V. Saulon