MOA for Masiway land administration signed

11 Oct 2006

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) will continue administering the Masiway land in Sitio Masiway, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, as stipulated in a Memorandum of Agreement that was recently signed between officials of PSALM and the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).

Classified as inalienable and not disposable as a timberland, the Masiway land sits the 12-megawatt Masiway hydroelectric power plant covering 31,271 square meters within the Pantabangan-Carrangalan Watershed Reservation Area.

Last year, PSALM requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to amend Presidential Proclamation No. 561 (which reserved the Pantabangan-Carrangalan area) by excluding the area occupied by the Masiway land from the coverage of the proclamation and transfer its administration to PSALM.

The DENR, however, referred PSALM to PAMB which, by virtue of the National Integrated Protected Areas Act of 1992 (NIPAS), was given jurisdiction over declared protected areas.

With the signing of the MOA, the Masiway land can now be used for purposes of power generation, such as housing a power plant, under a private owner. The MOA will be assignable to First Gen Hydro Power Corp., the winning bidder for the Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric power plant complex. First Gen Hydro will start paying for the use of the land as soon as the Pantabangan-Masiway facility is turned over to the company. These payments will be used by PAMB for the continued protection and maintenance of the area.

"This agreement is a testament that reforms in the power industry reform and care for the environment, particularly protected areas, can go hand in hand as long as parties ensure that one is not compromised for another," said PSALM President and Chief Executive Officer Nieves L. Osorio.

Mr. Regidon de Leon, PAMB regional director of Region III, lauded the PSALM team for their "unceasing" coordination and cooperation in ensuring that negotiations for the administration of the Masiway land are unhampered.

"This cooperative effort among agencies government agencies can be a template for further MOA signing in the government's privatization program," he said. De Leon expects PSALM and the DENR to abide by the terms and conditions stipulated in the MOA.

Ms. Osorio and Mr. De Leon were the signatories to the agreement. Witnesses included Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla, Mr. Raphael C. Otic of DENR Region III, PSALM vice president for Asset Management and Electricity Trading Mr. Froilan Tampinco, and Mr. Ernesto P. Pantangco of First Gen Hydro.

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