Mala­cañang of­fers new com­pro­mise deal on Malam­paya

Palawan News - - FRONT PAGE - By Aira Ge­nesa Mag­dayao Re­porter

The Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion is of­fer­ing to fund the province’s elec­tri­fi­ca­tion pro­gram as a new com­pro­mise agree­ment with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment to re­solve an out­stand­ing le­gal dis­pute over Palawan’s roy­alty share from the Malam­paya gas project.

For­mer pres­i­den­tial spokesman Harry Roque, vis­it­ing Palawan over the week­end, said Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has dis­cussed the mat­ter with key Cabi­net of­fi­cials in­clud­ing Sec. Sonny Dominguez of the Depart­ment of Bud­get and Man­age­ment (DBM) and that the new com­pro­mise agree­ment is cur­rently be­ing “pro­cessed and fast­tracked” for sign­ing be­tween the two par­ties. Roque de­scribed the pro­posed com­pro­mise agree­ment as fa­vor­able to Palawan which has a pend­ing le­gal claim to 40 per­cent of the Malam­paya project’s roy­alty based on the Lo­cal Govern­ment Code’s (R.A. 7160) pro­vi­sion on nat­u­ral wealth shar­ing for lo­cal gov­ern­ments. “Mat­a­pos tay­ong mak­ibaka noon pang 2002, meron na pong kat­a­pu­san ang at­ing la­ban sa 40 porsyen­tong share ng Palawan sa Malam­paya. Sa wakas, magkaka­roon na po ng ka­sun­d­uan, magkaka­roon na po ng full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion ang buong Palawan at meron ng katarun­gan ang probin­sya,” Roque said in a speech dur­ing the open­ing of the Palawan pro­vin­cial meet in Narra. Roque did not pro­vide de­tails of the planned com­pro­mise agree­ment, in­clud­ing the amount that the planned elec­tri­fi­ca­tion pro­gram will en­tail, but ex­plained that the funds that will be com­ing from the Malam­paya roy­alty will fi­nance the “full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion” of Palawan. He added that in ex­change for this, the province will no longer as­sert its claim to a 40 per­cent share. “Walang ha­laga na naka­su­lat doon sa pro­posed agree­ment. Ang naka­su­lat lang doon ay ang full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion ng Palawan or what will be the to­tal cost may be,” he said. Roque was the main coun­sel of the civil so­ci­ety group Kilu­san Love Malam­paya (KLM) which has sued the pro­vin­cial and na­tional govern­ment for en­ter­ing into an ear­lier com­pro­mise deal that funded ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects iden­ti­fied by the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship dur­ing the term of for­mer gov­er­nor Joel T. Reyes. He said the new agree­ment be­ing pre­pared by the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion was dis­cussed in a Cabi­net meet­ing be­fore he stepped down as Palace spokesman. “This is a break­through dito sa lalaw­igan, hindi ko lang masyadong pinukpok noong ako’y nasa gabi­nete dahil ako nga ang tu­may­ong abo­gado. But that be­came ap­par­ent noong ako’y paalis na ng Mala­cañang dahil hindi na­man puwede na hindi ito ma-dis­cuss. A few days be­fore I filed my cer­tifi­cate of can­di­dacy ay nag­patawag si Pres­i­dente ng meet­ing,” he said. “Sa Palawan, 2002 pa tayo nakik­ibaka para sa at­ing ka­parte sa Malam­paya at ngayon ay mukhang malapit na ang at­ing pinaglal­a­ban. Wag na natin pag-awayan kung ex­actly magkano basta bi­lang nag­bi­gay ang Palawan ng kuryente ay ka­palit na noon ay ang full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion sa probin­sya,” Roque added. He said the agree­ment, once signed, will be sub­mit­ted to the Supreme Court to re­solve the pend­ing dis­pute. Vis­it­ing Palawan in March this year, Roque had stated the province stands to re­ceive P120 bil­lion as 40 per­cent share from the Malam­paya project if it wins against the na­tional govern­ment in the long-stand­ing dis­pute that started dur­ing for­mer pres­i­dent Gloria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. “Mi­na­madali na natin ang pros­eso para malag­daan na ang com­pro­mise agree­ment. Walang ha­laga na naka­su­lat doon sa pro­posed agree­ment. Ang naka­su­lat lang doon ay ang full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion ng Palawan or what will be the to­tal cost may be,” he added.

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