THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said upgrades to the energy distribution infrastructure and the reduction of red tape in the permit process will be viewed positively by investors.

PCCI President George T. Barcelon said investors are concerned about the state of the infrastructure as it impacts energy and logistics costs.

“One of the key areas when I talk about infrastructure is power. Power is still something that we are quite concerned with — the supply of power and the competitiveness of our cost of power,” he said at the PCCI Media Kapihan on Thursday.

“The immediate thing should be (to improve) connectivity and reduce the bureaucracy in the industry,” Mr. Barcelon said.

He said new companies investing in the Philippines still consider the permitting process to be “quite challenging.”

“They used to have to obtain about 50 to 60 permits. Although there has been a big improvement, they still require around 30. So, it was cut in half, but there is still a lot of paperwork to be done,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) contains “gray areas” that need to be cleared up.

Mr. Barcelon called for “tweaks” in EPIRA to clarify the role and powers of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

“The law states clearly that if you are paid to generate power, you cannot be a distributor. But there are some gray areas there,” he added.

He added that “the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines has been facing some issues regarding the promised grid connectivity,” he said.

He expressed support for considering the use of nuclear energy to address concerns about the supply of energy.

“I think nuclear power must be on the table. It is not an immediate thing. This will require careful study but other countries have done it. It is the cleanest energy that the country could have. So that I think it should be on the table,” he said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile