VP Leni sees indigenous energy sources as key to PH energy security
Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday, 21 January, called for the development of indigenous energy sources to alleviate the rising energy prices in the country brought about by external factors.
Robredo called the supply of energy “the number one concern now” in response to a question about addressing the energy price and supply issues of the country if she is elected President in May.
Robredo was the featured presidential candidate in the online forum hosted by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) called Meet the Presidentiables: Economic Reforms in the New Frontier.
“The Malampaya gas fields is running dry very soon. There are pending applications for service contracts that have not yet been acted upon. So, number one, there should be an immediate review of all these applications and award them as soon as possible. And government should provide support to private companies to fast-track development of oil fields,” Robredo said.
Robredo also sees the expansion of the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (EVOSS) and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) as ways to boost the development of energy projects by streamlining the approval process, as stakeholders have informed her that the process takes too long.
In her energy plan, Robredo supports the Philippine commitment to be more carbon neutral in 2050 but there is currently no road map that specifies how to achieve this. She sees liquified natural gas (LNG) as the only practicable option for this transition and said that the Department of Energy (DOE) should secure the supply of LNG by taking the lead instead of letting companies import individually.
For the long term, Robredo sees prioritization of low-cost energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal will aggressively promote their utilization to avert a power shortage.
“One sustainable alternative also, which [is] being pushed by some sectors, is to encourage high-consumption volume consumers to put up their own solar panels for those who can afford. Putting up panels in ecozones, for example, can shave off the peak to manage the supply,” she said.
Robredo is also in favor of promoting mini grids for remote communities to give them a source of energy.
The Vice President also wants to update the implementing rules and regulations of the Value Added Tax law to exclude components of the power bill which do not have value added to lower the cost of electricity. She is also open to calibrating the excise tax rates in response to changes in global prices and a review of the system loss allowance.
Asked about her stand on nuclear energy, Robredo said that she is open to discussions on the matter but the transition away from fossil fuel dependence is more important.
“While I am open to discussions, it is very, very clear that the priority now should be moving away from fossil fuel dependence towards a shift to renewable energy. We should also ensure that energy costs do not hamper our economic trajectory,” she said. [End]