Malacañang offers new compromise deal on Malampaya
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.