Today is October 21, 2018
Today is October 21, 2018

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Energy Department adopts FPE recommendations recognizing Indigenous People’s rights and access to benefits as host communities of energy facilities

Posted on April 16, 2018

On February 9, 2018, the Department of Energy (DOE)  issued Department Circular 2018-03-0005 which prescribes the guidelines to recognize the rights of indigenous cultural communities (ICCs)/indigenous peoples (IPs) in their ancestral domains and access to the financial benefits as host communities specified in DOE Energy Regulation (ER) 1-94 and Rule 29 (A) of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9136 or the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).”
 
This policy demonstrates significant milestones in FPE’s years of proactive advocacy towards the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights in watersheds within ancestral lands as well as their rightful share in the benefits derived from the environmental services that they are protecting. FPE’s intensive consultations, research, capacity building and IEC activities with IPs in select energy project sites within ancestral domains started in 2010 with the Mainstreaming Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in Environmental Governance (MIPPEG) project, coordinated by Ms. Liza Vida, followed by the Sustainable Financing Mechanism project that ended in 2016.
 
FPE’s proposed amendments to the IRR, such as recognizing the IPs and their rights, clarifying the definition of terms of host communities to include IPs, and the nature of and access to benefits by host IP communities, among others, were included in this new IRR.
 
As hosts, IPs are entitled to receive one centavo per kilowatt-hour (Php 0.01/kWh) of the total electricity sales. For non-highly urbanized cities, the fund is allocated as follows: 1) host municipality: 35%, 2) host province: 30%, 3) host barangay: 20%, 4) host region: 5%, 5) host organized ICCs/IPs: 5%, and 6) designated resettlement areas: 5%. For highly urbanizes cities: 1) host city: 55%, 2) host barangay: 30%, 3) designated resettlement area: 10%, and host organized ICCs/IPs: 5%.
 
Datu Jemuel Perino, when asked about his comments on the new policy last April 17, 2018, said: “Victory jud ni nga maingon nato para sa tanang pito ka tribo sa Bukidnonn og sa uban pa na mga tribu sa Pilipinas! Nalipay ko nga narealize ni nga damgo. This was just a dream. Salamat sa FPE, sa suporta og sa tanang tabang, particularly sa legal assistance. Ang sunod nato bantayan is kung unsaon ni ma-implement. Hinaut unta nga sa dili madugay duna gyud ta ma-establish nga model bahin ni ini.
 
“This is really a victory for all the seven tribes of Bukidnon and for all Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the Philippines! I am very happy that this dream is realized. This just used to be a dream. Thank you to FPE, for your support and help, particularly for the legal assistance. The next thing we have to watch out is how this policy will be
 implemented on the ground. I hope that we will soon be able to establish a model related to this.”
 
Datu Jemuel is the Chairman of the Bukidnon Umayamnon Tribe Kapu-unan To mga Datu (BUKDA). BUKDA and the Bukidnon-Higanonon Tribe Association, Inc. (BUHITA) are among the host IP Communities of the Pulangi IV Hydropower Plant of the National Power Corporation, Maramag, Bukidnon who participated in the studies presented in 2014 on the EPIRA law’s limited recognition of IPs as host communities conducted by the Tropical Institute for Climate Studies (TropICS) and Center for Renewable Energy and Alternative Technologies (CREATE) both based in the Ateneo de Davao University.
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