Dr. Isabelo Montejo, Regional Technical Director for Forest Management Services, challenged Sibulan town and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources to come up with a new co-management agreement for the geothermal preservation area at the twin Lakes of Balinsasayao in the town.
The geothermal preservation area has been under the management of Energy Development Corporation after it was privatized from Philippine National Oil Company.
Part of the EDC program is to properly manage and protect the surrounding forest near the geothermal sites.
Montejo said the EDC has no legal personality over the area because the co-management agreement was signed with the PNOC and not with EDC. Although the declaration of the geothermal preservation area is still effective, they have to sign a new co-management agreement with the EDC, he said.
Montejo said the co-management agreement will be signed by EDC, Sibulan and the Department of Energy.
The Forest Land Use Plan overseer of Sibulan, Connie Rosales, said they cannot effectively implement the FLUP program because of the existing co-management agreement with PNOC now EDC.
Sibulan is supposedly one of the recipients of a P7 Million grant from a German Bank-KFW, but because of the existing co-management agreement with PNOC, they were excluded from the list of beneficiaries.
Rosales said the contract clearly stated that the three signatories of the co-management agreement must sign for approval. But because of the privatization, the EDC management cannot sign representing PNOC.
Montejo said he will finalize all the legal documents at the DENR regional office to come up with a new co-management agreement with EDC, LGU and the DOE.*MA
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