12 October 2015

APEC News Release

Palace conveys its sympathies to former senator Joker Arroyo’s family
Malacañang has conveyed its “deepest sympathies” to the family and loved ones of former senator and human rights lawyer Joker Arroyo, who died at the age of 88 in the United States last week.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones in their time of grief,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement issued on Monday.

Arroyo died in the US on October 5 due to heart failure. Atty. Rene Saguisag, Arroyo’s friend and colleague, confirmed last week the passing of the former senator.

“The passing of Joker Arroyo closes a life and career spent in the midst of burning issues of public interest for half a century. As a lawyer and legislator, he was outspoken,” Lacierda said.

“As a citizen, he was one of those who fought the dictatorship and served in the effort to restore our democracy: This is the Joker Arroyo the country will remember,” the Palace spokesman added.

Based on his Senate profile, Arroyo handled more human rights cases than any other lawyer from 1972 to 1986. He was a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law and the Ateneo de Manila.

He was the first lawyer to challenge before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation No. 1081 on the imposition of martial law.

He also defended various political detainees, among them Ninoy Aquino, Eugenio Lopez, Jr., Serge Osmeña III, Jose Ma. Sison, Jovito Salonga, Nene Pimentel, Eva Kalaw, Renato Tañada, and Eduardo Olaguer.

When Mrs. Corazon Aquino ran for president during the snap elections in 1986, Arroyo served as her counsel. The late senator also co-founded MABINI and FLAG together with other human rights lawyers. He was a member of the American Bar Association, Senior Lawyers Division.

Arroyo held various posts in the government. He first served as executive secretary in Cory Aquino’s Cabinet from 1986 to 1992, then as chairman of the Philippine National Bank and as executive director for the Philippines in the Asian Development Bank from 1986 to1990.

He received various awards and commendations, such as the Philippine Bar Association’s Most Distinguished Award for Justice as a “man beholden to no one except to his country” and a Senate resolution commending him for his invaluable services to the Filipino people.

Arroyo also served as a three-term congressman for the 1st District of Makati from 1992 to 1998. He was the lead prosecutor during the impeachment trial of former president Joseph Estrada.

In 2001, Arroyo was elected senator and finished his term in 2013. PND (co)

President Aquino attends presentation of Liberal Party’s senatorial lineup for next year’s elections
President Benigno S. Aquino III has expressed confidence that the senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) would carry the torch of Daang Matuwid in the 2016 polls.

Led by LP vice chairman and Senate President Franklin Drilon, the administration’s senatorial slate include Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, former energy secretary Jericho Petilla, former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Joel Villanueva, Senators Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guingona III, former food security czar Francisco Pangilinan, former Yolanda rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson, PhilHealth Director Risa Hontiveros, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid, COOP NATCCO Partylist Representative Cresente Paez, and Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary for Muslim Affairs and Special Concerns Nariman Ambolodto.

All the senatorial bets were present during the “Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid” event at the Balay Expo Centro Building in Quezon City, except Lacson, who had to attend a meeting of the Philippine National Police Foundation.

President Aquino said the 12 senatorial bets would ably support the formidable tandem of LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.

“Ipinakilala natin ang labindalawang indibidwal na sa ating paniniwala ay tunay na kumakatawan sa mga prinsipyo ng katapatan, sakripisyo, at paninindigan—silang magiging kasama nina Mar at Leni sa pagsusulong ng mas malawak na reporma sa kalakhang lipunan. Sila ang mga pambato ng koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid para sa Senado sa taong 2016,” the President said in his speech delivered before an estimated crowd of 600 composed of Cabinet members, LP officials, representatives of civil society organizations and sectoral groups.

The Chief Executive said the first criterion for inclusion in the administration’s senatorial lineup is the readiness to continue the Daang Matuwid advocacy.

“Ngayon po, sa pagpapakilala sa ating mga kandidato sa pagka-Senador, ang unang-una nating criteria para makapasok sa slate ay ang kahandaang ipagpatuloy ang Daang Matuwid. Sa ganitong paraan, siguradong mas mapapabilis pa ang pagkamit natin sa ating mga pangarap. Sila namang magtutuloy sa ating nasimulan, mas maganda at di-hamak na mas mataas na antas ang panggagalingan,” he said.

“Sa Daang Matuwid, ang estilo po natin pagdating sa mga desisyon, idaan ito sa consensus. At ang nakikita ninyo ngayon ay resulta ng pagpupulong ng Liberal Party, mga kaalyado, at mga kasamahan natin mula sa civil society at iba’t ibang partido. Di ho namin ugali ang magpuno lang ng listahan para lang may mailaban. At sa tingin ko po, walang makakapagsabi na taliwas sa ating agenda ng mabuting pamamahala ang mga kasama natin,” the President further said.

President Aquino also gave his all-out support to ensure the “reelection” of Daang Matuwid.

“Sa pangunguna nina Mar at Leni, kasado na ang puwersang magpapatuloy, magpapalawak, at lalaban para sa ating mga Boss, ang sambayanang Pilipino. Sa nalalabi kong panahon sa puwesto, sa patnubay ng Poong Maykapal at sa patuloy ninyong pagpapakita ng matinding suporta, asahan ninyong buong-lakas at buong-paninindigan kong pamumunuan ang kampanya para sa reeleksiyon ng Daang Matuwid, ang kampanya na gawing lalong posible ang dating pinapangarap lang, ang kampanyang magtutuloy ng dakilang kuwento ng lahing Pilipino,” the President concluded. PND (jm)

APEC urged to facilitate trade, investments in resilient energy infrastructure
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are urged to facilitate trade and investments in resilient energy infrastructure that can withstand disasters.

In a press briefing for the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) here, Department of Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said aside from power demand, there is now a strong need to invest in resilient energy infrastructure as the region is faced with the challenges of climate change.

“As we have emphasized before, APEC economies should learn from past experiences and shift to sustainable development to focus on energy resiliency which to us would mean mitigating climate change and also looking at the adaptation part of it,” she said.

She added energy infrastructure and systems of APEC economies should be able to withstand extreme natural and man-made disasters as well as be able to recover faster and efficiently.

She cited that underground power lines are resilient energy infrastructure but the system will also demand for ‘extensive technology’ and investments.

To encourage investments in resilient energy infrastructure, Ayson mentioned that APEC ministers will discuss possible actions and strategies that will facilitate trade of energy technologies in the region to keep competitive prices of these technologies as well as attracting energy investments among member economies.

This was also affirmed by DOE Director Jesus Tamang, when he said harmonization of standards of energy equipment and technologies as well as the required skills of energy-related professionals will play crucial roles in facilitating trade and investments in APEC’s energy sector.

“What’s being recognized (in a particular economy) shall be equally recognized in other (APEC) economies,” he noted. PNA (kc)

Mandaue City nominated as model in low carbon emission among APEC economies
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The Philippines has nominated Mandaue City here in Cebu as a model in low carbon emission.

In a press briefing held prior to the opening of the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held here on Tuesday, Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said Mandaue’s nomination is part of APEC’s green building and green programs to be replicated in various cities of APEC member economies.

Aside from the Philippines, Ayson said Russia and Malaysia have also submitted their respective nominees.

“I think we should prepare for this and I am hoping the Philippines will get it (awarded as model low carbon emission city),” the energy undersecretary said.

Ayson said once Mandaue is chosen to be a model for low carbon emission, the Philippine government will promote energy resilient buildings where clear targets to reduce carbon dioxide emission will be followed.

Earlier, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya was presented with several hybrid buses that will ply the major cities of Cebu in preparation to ease the traffic here.

The hybrid vehicle typically achieves greater fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, resulting in fewer emissions being generated.

These features make a hybrid vehicle particularly efficient for city traffic where there are frequent stops, coasting and idling periods. In addition noise emissions are reduced, particularly at idling and low operating speeds, in comparison to conventional engine vehicles. (APEC Communications Group)

Government keen in solving power outages; contracts awarded for potential power sources
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The government is currently experimenting on mixing different energies available in the country to ensure enough electricity will be generated for the country.

Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson revealed that the government has been doing a simulation on energy by mixing the use of 1/3 coal energy, 1/3 natural gas and 1/3 renewable energy.

“We are working on these programs, we are doing a balance to use coal, natural gas, renewable energy,” Ayson said in a press briefing held prior to the opening of the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held here on Tuesday. ” It is a work in progress.”

Ayson said despite being major emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas which according to a consensus opinion of scientific organizations is a contributor to global warming, coal power plants or fossil-fuel power stations will still be used in generating power electricity since its systems are already in place.

She also revealed that so far 682 contracts were approved by the government to generate the combined potential capacity of 13,600 megawatts once operational.

Ayson said these contracts are already on its pre-development stages where economic and technical feasibility are being studied and worked on.

The government is aiming to triple energy capacity and generation by 2030-2050 and looking at 2030-2035 as increasing power output by 40 percent.

Investment will also be needed in order to ensure the contracts approved will be implemented soon.

Ayson said the country need both local and foreign investment for power generation.

“We need investors, both local and foreign investors,” she said.

Ayson added that in order to attract investors, the government will award incentives to those who will invest on renewable energy under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.

Regular investment fora are also being done to attract investors in the Philippines. Prior energy fora and meetings were also done in Ilocos province early this year as well as in Cebu and Davao. (APEC Communications Group)

Philippines eyes renewable energy investments through APEC hosting
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Aiming to triple its renewable energy-based capacity by 2030, the Philippines will take advantage of its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to attract renewable energy investments to the country.

Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Loreta Ayson, in a press briefing to kick off the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) here Monday, said the Philippines would promote to fellow APEC member economies the investment opportunities in the country’s renewable energy sector.

She said the government needs renewable energy investments as it targets to increase the share of renewable energy in the country.

“We are pushing for renewable energy,” she said.

The DOE is working on a fuel mix policy for energy resources diversification, Ayson said, noting that under the policy, renewable energy would cover one-third of the total fuel mix.

She further noted that the government is pushing to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 to 15,300 megawatts (MW) from 5,400 MW in 2010.

Ayson said the country is on track in terms of achieving this target as the DOE has approved 682 service contracts with a total capacity of more than 13,000 MW.

She said this target is in line with the APEC’s goal of doubling the share of renewable energy in the region.

Ayson affirmed that the government continues to promote investments in renewable energy by providing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and investment promotion activities. PNA (kc)

APEC needs to heighten discussions on energy resiliency
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) need to heighten their discussions on energy resiliency, in recognition of global concerns on climate change.

During the opening of the Special Energy Working Group (EWG) Meeting here on Monday, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said this era is an opportune time for the APEC to intensify discussions, sharing of information and best practices towards a resilient energy sector in the region.

Ayson, who also co-chairs the EWG Meeting, added that APEC economies should come up with collective actions that will address current and emerging challenges faced by the energy sector.

“We have to recognize that we are currently in an era of rapid change where resiliency is the key, the approach to go. And what APEC 2015 is all about is engaging communities to be more empowered, sustainable and resilient,” she noted.

“As we have emphasized before, APEC economies should learn from past experiences and shift to sustainable development to focus on energy resiliency, which to us would mean mitigating climate change and also looking at the adaptation part of it.”

Outcomes of the EWG Meeting will be presented to the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) that will conclude on Wednesday.

This year’s EMM discussions will focus on climate-proofing infrastructure, advancing cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies, promoting community-based clean energy use in energy poverty-stricken areas, and improving energy trade and investment.

The APEC’s energy ministers are also expected to finalize the draft Cebu Ministerial Declaration and Instructions for adoption by member economies. PNA (kc)

Philippines: A showcase for business opportunities and cooperation hub among nations and economies
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The Philippines is not only a destination for vacation and adventure but is also a showcase for business opportunities and a cooperation hub among nations and economies, for the sharing of best practices and endless possibilities to work for the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”.

This was emphasized by Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson at the opening of the APEC Special Energy Working Group meeting here Monday.

According to Ayson, the region is currently in an era of rapid change where resilience is key.

“The approach to growth, which is what APEC 2015 is all about, must focus on engaging communities to be more empowered, sustainable and resilient,” she said in her opening remarks.

Recognizing the global concern on climate change, Ayson stressed that now is the opportune time to heighten discussions and information sharing, and learn from one another’s experiences and best practices in international fora such as the APEC, to come up with a collective action towards a resilient community.

She expressed hope that by this week, they would be able to firm up a framework for an energy-resilient APEC.

Energy senior officials from APEC member economies are convening here this week to discuss and develop action plans that will cover issues on energy investments, regional standards on energy products and services, and low carbon development/clean energy technologies, among others.

Earlier, Energy Policy and Planning Bureau Director Jesus Tamang stressed that the basic idea on the harmonization of regional standards on energy products and services as one of the key elements of the APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting is that those equipment, appliances and devices produced in the Philippines can also be made available to other member economies.

“So it is going to be what is available for us, what is rated energy-efficient for us will be recognized in other economies,” Tamang said during a press briefing here.

However, the focus is not just about devices but also those who are working in the energy sector who will be given recognition by each APEC member economy.

“We are also talking about professionals,” he pointed out. “We equally recognize those who practice their trade and craft on energy efficiency and even the low carbon work areas, like things that needed to undertake green building design and construction and other related implementation.”

Tamang also stressed that the call for greater energy investments is not just for the Philippines but the whole of APEC.

“If we really want to be able to promote the use of low carbon technologies, use of more energy efficient technologies, bring power and other energy services to remote areas, this will all require substantial amount of investments not just for the Philippines but to include all other member economies of the APEC,” he said.

Tamang said the laws on renewable energy in the Philippines can also serve as a good model to other economies, including the pending energy bill in both houses of Congress that promote energy efficiency.

“We hope to have (the energy bill) in place such that the practice or the requirement for energy efficiency and conservation become institutionalized for all consumers, not just for the heavy consumers but for everyone,” he said while noting that there is a strong promotion for energy efficiency to be a way of life.

“For now, it is the Philippines that is actually actively promoting energy efficiency being our way of life in all ages,” Tamang added. “We hope that with the (APEC) meeting now scheduled here in the Philippines by our energy ministers, it will be something that will be equally promoted by all the energy ministers in their respective economies.”

“We are hoping that their good experiences and our good experiences will be undertaken and utilized to promote a cleaner and low carbon future,” he added. (APEC Communications Group)

 With APEC support, underground power lines in the Philippines could be feasible, says Energy official
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Underground power lines in the Philippines? For the Department of Energy (DoE), this technology is something that should be looked into.

“A good option is really to go underground because (power lines) will not be affected by strong winds and storms,” Energy Undersecretary and Philippine Senior Official on Energy Loreta Ayson said during a media briefing here Monday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting.

Ayson pointed out that although it makes the power lines less susceptible to outages during thunderstorms, burying power lines is a very expensive technology.

“I am not sure if the government can subsidize it,” she said. “It is something we have to work on.”

However, Ayson noted that with the support of the APEC, trade and investments will be promoted and eventually, prices of technologies needed to put power lines underground, such as supplies and materials, could be discussed.

“Hopefully, there would be a cooperation so that prices would not be so costly so that we can do this technology in our own country,” the energy undersecretary said.

Also through APEC, Ayson said, economies are able to articulate to investors that financial support is needed in this particular area.

In the United States, underground power lines make up about 18 percent of transmission lines. According to the US Energy Information Administration, nearly all new residential and commercial developments have underground electric service.

It however noted that underground power lines cost five to 10 times more than overhead wires, do not last as long, and cost more to replace.

Likewise, buried lines are more vulnerable to flooding, and can still fail due to equipment issues or lightning. (APEC Communications Group)

APEC member economies exchanging experiences, best practices to build energy resilience
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The Philippines and other member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) can learn from one another in the ongoing discussions on energy issues here, an American delegate said on Monday.

Like the Philippines, the United States is also frequently hit by calamities, for instance Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina that left a massive impact on the US’ energy sector, said Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Chair of the APEC’s Energy Working Group.

“We have been learning best lessons, learning how to use advanced micro grids, and to build resiliency into the system,” Yoshida said.

The Philippines has been doing the same, as others in Southeast Asia have had their hydropower plants affected by extreme weather, Yoshida said, noting that California also had some extreme droughts recently.

“So, it is really using everybody’s best skills and intelligence from throughout the region to work together to come up with better plans and better ways of doing things,” she said.

To build energy resiliency, other APEC members can learn from the US, she said.

When Hurricane Sandy devastated the US, the US government spent a lot of money working to create very resilient micro grids so they could provide power to schools, hospitals and other important facilities, Yoshida said.

“You might have even industrial parks that have advanced micro grids,” she said, adding that when disaster strikes, those micro grids can back up power very quickly and supply the most urgent need in the area.

Members of the APEC are also discussing new technologies that can be used in the region to build a more resilient energy sector, such as the use of underground power lines.

Although costly, underground power lines reduce the vulnerability of an energy facility from wind and typhoons.

Delegates to the APEC are meeting for the two-day 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings in Cebu. PND (as)

APEC economies urged to encourage public-private partnership in energy sector
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have been urged to encourage public-private partnerships (PPP) in the energy sector to increase investments and meet power demand in the region.

In a press conference during the APEC Special Energy Working Group (EWG) Meeting here on Monday, EWG Chair Phyllis Yoshida said the private sector plays a crucial role in investments in energy projects, as the government often cannot afford to put in capital in the sector.

It was noted that the energy sector is one of the capital-intensive industries, hence, the need for PPPs in this sector.

Aside from meeting the energy demand in the region, APEC economies need to invest in resilient energy infrastructure due to risks of extreme conditions, such as disasters, calamities, and other challenges posed by climate change.

Investments in resilient energy infrastructure however require large capital as resilient infrastructure utilizes new technology.

Yoshida stressed that APEC policymakers are also having a dialogue with the business community to enhance the partnership of the public and private sectors.

“As the government cannot put a lot of investments needed in resilient infrastructure in APEC, we meet with the industry and CEOs to get their recommendations and views for us to do and to encourage them to work on public-private partnerships and investment throughout the region,” Yoshida said.

She further said that discussions between the public and private sectors help identify solutions to financing issues to attract investments for the capital-intensive power sector.

On Tuesday, APEC energy ministers will meet with business executives in the energy sector for a dialogue, EWG Co-Chair and Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said.

Ayson said the discussion will focus on facilitating trade and investments in the sector.

“The role of the private sector is very important as far as putting in place energy projects, power generation and power distribution, for us to look forward to our programs in the energy sector so that we are able to meet the increase in demand for power,” she explained.

The private sector’s recommendations to the ministers are expected to be part of the Cebu Ministerial Declaration.

The Cebu Declaration will be the output of the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting here and will be endorsed during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November. PNA (kc)

APEC working groups come up with measures to build energy resiliency
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) working groups discussing energy resiliency have produced a draft that contains several measures for every member to adopt, a Philippine energy official said on Monday.

Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said they included in the documents vulnerability assessment, geo-hazard mapping, and sharing of best practices as ways to build a more resilient energy sector in the Asia Pacific region.

She said they hope the final draft would be reviewed by the APEC ministers and would be approved and adopted on Tuesday.

Member economies of the APEC, she said, have agreed to undergo vulnerability assessments of energy infrastructures and come up with standards that would ensure that these infrastructures withstand extreme conditions brought about by disasters.

Experts from other economies could help the Philippines and other vulnerable APEC member economies in preparing for natural calamities, she said.

“We hope that all the APEC economies, through this agreement and cooperation, would be able to do all these vulnerability assessment, geo-hazard maps, and best practices sharing,” Ayson said.

“We and other economies stand to benefit from the APEC discussions.”

Member economies of the APEC have put energy resiliency at the forefront of the discussions here because of the frequency and increasingly destructive nature of calamities that have hit the region in recent years and have been impacting on its energy sector.

They also have an ambitious agenda of drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions and shifting to renewable energy sources to fight climate change.

Delegates to the APEC are attending the 12th APEC Energy Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort on Monday and Tuesday. PND (as)