The Project is expected not to cause any adverse social impacts to communities where the chillers are located; any grievances or complaints regarding the Project will likely be limited to those affecting the COs. The objective of the Project would be best served if a mechanism is in place to resolve to such grievances from the chiller owners in a fair, transparent, responsive and expeditious manner.
A project-level grievance mechanism shall be established through the creation of a grievance committee to be chaired by DENR Legal Service and co-chaired by DENR IAS. The members of the said committee shall include EMB Legal, DENR FMS and DENR FASPS. The main function of the project grievance committee is to identify, address and resolve any legitimate concerns and complaints that COs may have regarding the operation and performance of the Project.
The following parameters shall be embodied in the grievance handling mechanism:
a. A description of the process by which the CO can bring its grievances for consideration and resolution.
b. The designation of the DENR Central Office (Legal Service) as the office which will receive and resolve the concerns and complaints. The DENR shall convene the committee to resolve grievances brought before it.
c. A condition that consultation be conducted and communications maintained between the DENR and the COs in order to ensure the successful outcome of the grievance mechanism.
The following additional parameters shall be included in the project grievance mechanism:
a. Concerns and complaints from the CO shall be in writing and signed by the duly authorized representative of the CO.
b. Two or more COs may join in a single complaint when the issue affects two or more COs.
c. Written and signed complaints shall be addressed to the DENR Secretary through the Assistant Secretary for FASPS and shall contain the following minimum information:
· Name, address, and telephone number of the CO on whose behalf the complaint is being made;
· A complete statement of the grievance and the facts upon which it is based;
· The desired remedy or solution requested; and
· The names of any witnesses who can provide supportive or relative information.
d. The grievance shall relate, in whole or in part, to the operation and performance of the Project. Disputes and conflicts between the CO and the Chiller Supplier are not covered by the grievance mechanism.
e. Any dispute or difference in opinion regarding the interpretation and implementation of the SGA or the MOA shall be settled, in so far as possible, by mutual consultation and consent.
f. All received grievances shall be recorded and tracked by DENR Legal Service and the concerned CO shall be regularly updated of their status.
g. The DENR shall review and investigate all complaints filed with it. Should site visits or equipment inspection become necessary, the same shall be scheduled with sufficient prior notice to the CO and other concerned parties. All results or findings from the review, investigation and/or inspection shall be recorded.
h. The DENR shall endeavor to resolve any legitimate complaint or concern, primarily through dialogue and mediation.
i. In the event that the concern or complaint remains unresolved despite going through the grievance mechanism, the parties to the dispute may submit to arbitration to be held within Metro Manila. The Philippine Arbitration Law in force at the time of the submission of the controversy for arbitration shall apply. At present, the Arbitration Law of the Philippines is Republic Act No. 9285 or otherwise known as the “Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 2004.” (Annex 33)
j. During the period of submission to arbitration and thereafter until the granting of the arbitral award, the parties shall maintain the status quo and refrain from doing or failing to do any acts which would unduly prejudice the other or otherwise adversely affect the Project. Each party shall cooperate in good faith to expedite (to the maximum extent practicable) the conduct of any arbitral proceedings commenced under the Project.
k. The mechanism shall not impede access to judicial or administrative remedies.