13 October 2015

APEC News Releases

Palace welcomes results of latest survey on national administration
Malacañang has welcomed the results of a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, which showed a high satisfaction rating on the national administration.”We welcome the latest results of the Third Quarter 2015 Social Weather Stations survey, which shows gross satisfaction with the national administration rising from 55 percent last June to 59 percent, and dissatisfaction falling from 24 percent to 22 percent,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“This follows a succession of positive news about the administration, including reform-led improvements in our country’s ratings in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) report. Compared to other administrations, the Aquino government has enjoyed historically high satisfaction ratings—the highest, in fact, in the recorded history of the SWS,” he added.

The Palace official said the Aquino administration’s good performance in various surveys is the result of a platform rooted in service and integrity.

“These positive results reaffirm our platform rooted in service and integrity—one that pursues widespread reform and ensures that the benefits of progress reach all Filipinos, regardless of their location, profession, or status in life. This is what we call inclusive growth. This is what we call Daang Matuwid,” said Lacierda.

He also reminded the public to vote wisely in the 2016 elections.

“With the 2016 referendum on Daang Matuwid coming up, it will once again be time for us to choose our collective destiny: whether we will return to an abusive system or together take Daang Matuwid to the next level,” he said.

The SWS survey, conducted on September 2 to 5 among 1,200 adults nationwide, found 59 percent of the respondents satisfied, 18 percent undecided, and 22 percent dissatisfied with the national government’s general performance. PND (jm)

Emperor and Empress of Japan to visit the Philippines next year
Malacañang has announced the state visit of Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to the Philippines scheduled for early next year. Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the Philippines has begun coordinating with Japan regarding the arrival to the country of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

“We are pleased to announce that the Philippines has started necessary coordination with Japan for a visit of Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, to the Philippines, possibly in early 2016,” Secretary Coloma said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The Palace official said it would be the first time a reigning emperor of Japan will visit the country.

“This visit responds to President Aquino’s invitation. It will be the first time a reigning Emperor of Japan will be visiting the Philippines, and returns the warm welcome Their Majesties extended to the President when he visited Tokyo earlier this year,” Coloma added.

President Aquino went to Japan last June 2 to 5 for a state visit, at the invitation of Emperor Akihito.

During the visit, President Aquino was presented the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, the highest honor awarded to outstanding individuals by the Japanese monarchy.

In return, President Aquino awarded Emperor Akihito the Order of Lakandula with rank of Supremo.

The President, who was accompanied by his Cabinet members, also met with the Filipino community in Japan and Japanese business leaders, during the four-day state visit. PND (jm)

APEC theme of energy resiliency a concrete contribution of the Philippines to energy ministerial meetings
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Of all the past Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meetings (EMM), this year’s meeting, hosted by the Philippines, is the first time energy resiliency has been adopted as the theme of the dialogues.

“We thought of this theme (Towards an Energy Resilient APEC Community), considering the fact that the Philippines and the other APEC economies have been experiencing devastation from typhoons and a lot of man-made and natural disasters,” Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said when asked during a press briefing here Tuesday on the sidelines of the 12th EMM what the Philippines has put on the table as its concrete contribution to the ongoing energy-related meetings.

“We believe that it is timely that we take up energy resiliency on infrastructure, so that we are able to have that ability, that quality of energy infrastructure that is able to withstand extreme weather conditions, and they are able to recover and go back to normalcy at a very efficient and timely manner and at the end of the day to build back better,” she said.

For her part, APEC Energy Working Group (AEWG) Chair, Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, said during the same press briefing that they foresee doing “a great deal more work” out of these ministerial meetings on issues about energy resilience, “which are very important to the Philippines and very important to the rest of the APEC economies”.

“We have directions from (APEC) leaders for the last few years to work specifically on some areas, including increasing, doubling renewable energy in the (region), decreasing energy intensity, and reforming inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” said Yoshida. “So we will talk a lot about next steps in those areas.”

According to the AEWG chief, the “main new piece” to be tackled during this year’s energy ministerial meetings will be setting up a good work program related to energy resilience and climate change.

Yoshida said the APEC Energy Working Group deals with everything from advanced coal technologies to renewable energy efficiency. (APEC Communications Group)

Qatari envoy bids farewell to President Aquino
Qatari Ambassador to the Philippines Jassim Ali Abdullah Al Obaidli on Tuesday met with President Benigno S. Aquino III for his farewell call, held at the Music Room of Malacañang Palace.

On hand during the occasion were Department of Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Linglingay Lacanlale, as well as Assistant Secretary Julius Torres, Director Eric Aquino and Executive Director Hjayceelyn Quintana of the department’s Office of Middle East and African Affairs.

Also present was Embassy of Qatar Second Secretary Adbulla Ali Al Kubaisi.

President Aquino received the Qatari ambassador’s credentials on February 28, 2012. PND (ag)

APEC explores adoption of energy mix policy
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are looking into the adoption of a policy on energy mix, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Loreta Ayson has said.

During a press briefing on the margins of the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) here Tuesday, Ayson said the fuel mix policy is a “work in progress” among member economies and is included in the Cebu Ministerial Declaration and Instructions.

“It (Cebu Declaration) is a combination of short-term, medium-term, (and) long-term (goals)… For example, there was mention of (an) energy mix policy. This is something like (a) work in progress,” she said.

“Each economy may want to do their evaluation, and at the end of the day, maybe come up with a policy that prescribes a certain energy mix, considering diversification of fuel,” she explained.

The DOE official added that in crafting an energy mix policy, environmental aspects, indigenous resources available in a certain APEC economy, and the economic benefits of the fuel mix must be considered.

Ayson noted that the DOE is working on a fuel mix policy for power generation, targeting a mix of one-third coal, one-third natural gas, and one-third renewable energy.

“So we want fuel diversification, which means we have, not only coal as fuel, but we will have as well natural gas, renewable energy. If there are other emerging technologies we can use as resources, we will do that,” she added.

She noted that the Philippines has yet to stop building coal-fired power plants, because it does not want to disrupt the supply of power across the country.

“It should be gradually done,” she said.

Ayson further said that these strategies are in line with the APEC’s goal of doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030 and reducing power intensity by 45 percent by 2035. PNA (kc)

APEC members must balance energy, self-sufficiency, environmental protection, says legislator
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are facing the gargantuan task of ensuring sufficient power supply and at the same time protecting the environment, a lawmaker said on Tuesday. “Clearly, the sustainable development-energy nexus requires an urgent examination of how the region can tap on the power of innovation and new technologies to provide for the energy it needs in a sustainable and inclusive manner,” Senator Loren Legarda said in her keynote address during the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort here.

Senator Legarda noted that she was raising the climate change issue during an energy meeting because energy security and climate security are interrelated.

According to her, there is a strong scientific consensus that climate change is largely the consequence of greenhouse gas emissions, which largely come from human activities, including burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, transportation, and agriculture.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has projected that energy demand in the Asia Pacific will almost double by 2030, she said, adding that the APEC must catch up in terms of energy production but must use cleaner energy options.

Emphasizing that with development comes greater demand for energy, Legarda said the Asia-Pacific region is poised to have a 3.2 percent growth both in 2015 and 2016 from the 2.9 percent expansion in 2014.

“Asia Pacific bears much of the brunt of climate change, accounting for more than 80 percent of the global loss of life due to disasters,” she said.

Legarda also underscored three issues that must be tackled.

First, she said, 610 million people across Asia still have no access to electricity.

Second, decision-making on energy issues has mainly been rooted on affordability and expediency as primary considerations, she said, citing that, according to the ADB’s 2013 Outlook Report, by 2035, the majority of the region’s primary energy demand will still come from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.

And third, she said, APEC members must also look into the fact that more than half of the global population live in cities, exacerbating high energy consumption.

“The ADB report poignantly pictures the problem — ‘Cities consume 78 percent of the world’s energy and contribute more than 60 percent of all carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, while covering less than 2 percent of the earth’s surface,'” she said. PND (as)

Senator Legarda underscores private sector’s role in building energy sector resiliency
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The private sector could play a greater role in assisting the government in building resilient energy infrastructure as well as in developing new technologies in power generation and achieving energy efficiency, a Philippine lawmaker said on Tuesday.

In her keynote address during the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting here, Senator Loren Legarda said the energy infrastructure system receives the brunt of disaster impacts, resulting in disruptions in businesses and in the delivery of services.Interconnecting systems are considered as one of the most critical features of the energy sector, she said, noting that natural hazards put the highly interdependent energy system at risk.

“Disturbances in the energy system, in turn, upset economic activities and cause distress to other critical infrastructure sectors, like transportation, water supply and communications,” Senator Legarda said.

“We need to give focus on risks, as understanding our vulnerabilities supports decision-making in the context of climate change,” she told APEC ministers attending the meeting.

Given the sector’s vulnerability, APEC member economies must build adaptability in the energy sector, she said, adding that climate proofing the energy infrastructure has become a necessity.

“The APEC and its member economies need to cooperate with the private sector, including ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council), towards fostering public-private partnerships that will encourage the adoption of appropriate standards for critical energy infrastructure,” she said.

Legarda further said that the private sector could become a partner of governments in energy efficiency and conservation, particularly in developing new technologies.

“New, cutting-edge energy efficient technologies are within our reach. I am therefore encouraged by APEC’s commitment to reduce aggregate energy intensity by 45 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels,” she said.
“Wider use of energy-saving equipment and technical innovation will contribute greatly in this endeavor.”

She emphasized the need for APEC member economies to heed the call of the private sector for governments to take decisive actions on environmental services, including the further identification and elimination of non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services, and support for the development of low-carbon and renewable energy technologies.

As many APEC economies will continue to generate power, using fossil fuels including coal, Legarda said it is imperative that the best available technology be deployed.

“Diversification of energy sources will promote disaster resilience,” she said, adding that investments in sophisticated sustainable energy technologies will reduce harmful gas emissions, protect human health and the environment, and sustain economic growth.
“APEC economies need to work with the private sector to develop clean and energy-efficient, climate-friendly technologies. I, therefore, welcome ABAC’s initiatives that seek to build a culture of innovation in our economies,” she said. PND (as)

Senator Legarda calls on APEC to find solutions to region’s energy problems
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Philippine senator and advocate of climate change awareness Loren Legarda has called on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) member economies to cooperate in finding solutions to the region’s energy needs and to focus on promoting a low-carbon economy as a means to create jobs and curb carbon emissions.

Delivering her keynote speech at the APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting here on Tuesday, Senator Legarda acknowledged the APEC’s role as an important global platform in the development of the region.

She pointed out that because of the APEC, growth has soared in the region, which is home to about 2.8 billion people, with real gross domestic product (GDP) doubling from only US$16 trillion in 1989 to US$31 trillion in 2013.

In fact, the senator said, APEC economies account for 57 percent of the world GDP and nearly 50 percent of world trade.

“Development is indeed good; but development without conscience destroys the world,” she said in her remarks.

Relative to this premise, Legarda underscored three issues. First, she said, across Asia, 610 million people are still without access to electricity.

Second, she said, energy decisions have mainly been rooted on affordability and expediency as primary considerations.

Third, she noted that more than half of the global population live in cities and these cities, based on a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), consume 78 percent of the world’s energy.

Legarda further said the ADB has projected that energy demand in the Asia Pacific will almost double by 2030.

Meanwhile, she said, regional experts are still seeking solutions to the looming threats of global catastrophe brought about by climate change, considering that the Asia Pacific bears much of the brunt of climate change, accounting for more than 80 percent of the global loss of life.

According to the legislator, as first steps, the APEC needs to focus on risks “as understanding our vulnerabilities supports decision-making in the context of climate change”.

“Our aim is to identify major energy networks that may be compromised by natural hazards, which abound,” said Legarda.

She stressed the importance of building adaptability in the energy sector as climate proofing energy infrastructure has become a basic necessity.

On the other hand, energy trade and investment can be affected by barriers that create obstacles to fair competition, Senator Legarda said, adding that these come in the form of quotas, export subsidies, procedural hurdles, and local content requirements, among others.

“Bottlenecks also come in the form of inadequate infrastructure, power grids, road and port facilities; but one of the biggest hurdles comes in the form of regulatory overreach,” she said.

For this, Legarda emphasized that investments in resilient energy infrastructure generate sustained economic and social benefits, and “deserve the highest priority for policymakers”.

“New, cutting-edge energy-efficient technologies are within our reach,” she stressed.

Legarda urged leaders of the 21 APEC economies to heed the private sector’s call for governments to take decisive action on environmental services.

“Diversification of energy sources will promote disaster resilience,” she said.

The senator also welcomed the initiatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) that seek to build a culture of innovation in APEC member economies.

She also said that clean fuel and renewable energy need to be harnessed while the development of micro grids must be pursued in addressing energy access challenges.

“Inclusive growth begins with making basic services available to all,” said Legarda. “Off grid and last mile communities need to enjoy the benefits of APEC as much as everyone else in urban areas.” (APEC Communications Group)

Lawmaker: Energy department needs more funds to develop country’s untapped renewable energy potential
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Senator Loren Legarda said she will seek to increase the budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) to enable it to harness the huge amount of untapped renewable energy in the Philippines.

Addressing the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting here on Tuesday, Senator Legarda said that a United States study has estimated the Philippines to have some 246,000 megawatts untapped and unharnessed renewable energy capacity.

“This is 13 times more than our current installed capacity. Failure to develop these capacities would be unforgivable,” she said, noting that with 16,000 megawatts in installed capacity, the country has more than 200,000 unharnessed energy potential that includes ocean energy and other sources.

“We simply want to focus more on research and development so we can harness the untapped potential. And even (though) it may seem a utopia, 100 million Filipinos can actually, eventually find a world where the energy mix is not just 30 percent coming from renewable energy (RE) but perhaps we can be an RE nation,” she said.

“And that is the reason why I will increase the budget of the DOE — because of this renewable energy portfolio.”

She further told delegates attending the meeting that the APEC needs to focus on promoting the growth of a low-carbon economy as a means to create jobs and curb carbon emissions.

She said the APEC cannot afford to take half steps in its efforts to deliver clean energy to poverty-stricken areas.

Legarda said she welcomes the APEC’s initiatives to provide energy access to everyone, including those in the most remote and backward communities.

Clean fuel and renewable energy need to be harnessed, and APEC economies must develop micro grids to address energy access challenges, she said.

Inclusive growth begins with making basic services available to all, and fostering the participation of micro, small, and medium enterprises in the regional and global markets will not happen unless energy access is guaranteed to everyone, she said.

“Off grid and last mile communities need to enjoy the benefits of APEC as much as everyone else in urban areas,” she added.

The APEC energy ministers are meeting here to discuss sufficient energy supply and ensure energy infrastructure resiliency in the region. They are expected to issue a declaration on Tuesday following the two-day meeting. PND (as)

Energy resiliency can be achieved by effectively preparing for the effects of natural disasters, says Philippine energy chief
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) As ministers responsible for energy in the Asia Pacific sit down this week to discuss ways to attain energy security in the region, they must also take into consideration the incalculable effects of disaster.

Department of Energy officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada, who also chairs the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM), said here Tuesday that higher levels of frequency and intensity of disasters have caused an alarming call, even for most advanced economies.

Monsada pointed out that APEC senior disaster management officials actually refer to these as the “new normal”.

She said based on the numerous catastrophic natural calamities in the past, the world has seen how communities are paralyzed during disasters when energy infrastructure are affected and damaged.

“Energy serves as the bloodline of economies; without reliable energy supply, economies will recover slower or worse,” said Monsada.

This is the reason why the theme of this year’s EMM highlights the resiliency of APEC communities.

In fact, said the Philippine energy chief, resiliency has been transformed into a sort of “buzzword” for the APEC this year, with the APEC earlier highlighting the importance of financial resilience, along with infrastructure development while senior disaster management officials worked on a disaster risk reduction framework to improve resiliency.

This year, the EMM will be tackling four sub-themes: climate proofing energy infrastructure; improving energy trade and investment; advancing cutting-edge, energy-efficient technologies; and promoting clean energy in poverty-stricken areas.

The theme of the meeting will also highlight the fact that one need not spend too much money to obtain the kind of resiliency needed to protect the people and their valuable belongings from being seriously affected by man-made and natural calamities, she explained.

“Fostering energy resiliency need not be too costly,” said Monsada. “We encourage the utilization of available energy-efficient technologies with the most cost-effective impact,” she said.

Likewise, she said energy resiliency should be a priority for all communities.

“We will discuss strategies to establish energy infrastructure in poverty-stricken areas… to encourage inclusive growth,” Monsada said. “We would also like to welcome experts to address the twin challenges of energy security and sustainable development.” (APEC Communications Group)

Government to enhance information campaign on renewable energy, power conservation
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The government will intensify its information dissemination campaign on renewable energy to raise public awareness on the use of clean energy and the importance of power conservation.

In an interview on the margins of the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) here on Tuesday, Senator Loren Legarda said the House of Representatives has approved an amendment to a law that increases the budget for information, education, and communication (IEC) of the Renewable Energy Bureau of the Department of Energy.

The goal is to make more people aware of the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency, Legarda told reporters.

The government, she said, will try to reach more people through textbooks, handouts, websites, films and television shows that ordinary people would understand.

“We saw last summer that while no emergency powers were granted to the President, still, there were no brownouts because there was a very active energy conservation,” Legarda said.

As a result of the public’s active participation in the energy efficiency campaign, the country was able to save 150 megawatts of electricity last summer when it was projected that there would be Luzon-wide power interruptions.

“So on the demand side, tayo na consumers, we should be more efficient and we should conserve energy so that we do not need to build more coal plants,” the senator said.

“The 150 megawatts saved during the hot summer months are a product of a very active energy efficiency campaign.”

In her speech earlier during the EMM, Legarda said she will seek to increase the budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) to enable it to harness the huge amount of untapped renewable energy in the country.

Citing a study conducted by experts from the United States, Legarda said the Philippines has some 246,000 megawatts of untapped, and unharnessed renewable energy capacity.

“This is 13 times more than our current installed capacity. Failure to develop these capacities would be unforgivable,” she said.

The Philippines has an installed capacity of about 16,000 megawatts.

The focus now should be on research and development to enable the country to harness its untapped renewable energy potentials, she said. PND (as)

Liberal Party senatorial bets have good track records, says Palace official
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. on Tuesday vouched for the good track records of the Liberal Party’s 12 senatorial bets for next year’s elections.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, the Palace official stressed that those chosen to form the Daang Matuwid Coalition represent major stakeholder groups.

“Ang batayan sa pagpili ng mga kandidato ng koalisyon ay kung sino ang may sapat na kakayahan at sapat na track record sa pagsisilbi, sa pagiging lingkod-bayan, at ito ang isinaalang-alang sa pagpili sa kanila,” Secretary Coloma said when asked to comment on the inclusion of “little-known” Nariman Ambolodto and Cresente Paez in the administration’s lineup.

Ambolodto is Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary for Muslim Affairs and Special Concerns while Paez is a congressman representing the COOP NATCCO party list.

“Sa panig ni Representative Paez, siya ay isang party list representative mula sa sektor ng kooperatiba, na maraming mga Pilipinong kasapi. Doon naman sa panig ni Assistant Secretary Ambolodto, siya ay kumakatawan sa mga kababaihan at sa sektor ng ating mga kapatid na Muslim,” Coloma explained.

“Hindi pa naman nag-uumpisa ang kampanya, mahaba pa ang panahon bago idaos ang eleksyon; at magkakaroon naman ng sapat na pagkakataon na maipakilala at maipakita nila sa mga mamamayan kung ano ang kanilang kakayahan,” the Palace official added.

The other members of the Daang Matuwid Coalition are LP vice chairman and Senate President Franklin Drilon, outgoing 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, and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid.

When asked why Hontiveros was chosen over other administration allies who are also qualified to run for senator, Coloma said the congresswoman has many personal qualifications.

“Siya ay naglingkod na sa Kamara de Representantes bilang kinatawan ng Akbayan party list. Siya ay isa sa mga co-author ng mahahalagang lehislasyon katulad na rin ng Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Bill. Itinaguyod niya ang kapakanan ng mga kababaihan, mga karapatang pantao. Siya ay maraming personal na kwalipikasyon na sa pananaw ng koalisyon ay malaki ang maiaambag sa pagpapatupad ng programa nito sa pagsasabatas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coloma said there are no replacements yet for the posts vacated by De Lima and Villanueva.

“Ang mahalaga dito, katulad ng ating palaging pinupunto, ay ang patuloy na daloy ng serbisyo publiko. Wala namang nagiging pagkaantala sa pagganap ng mga ahensiyang ito o kagawaran sa kanilang tungkulin. Nariyan naman sa puwesto ang mga senior officials katulad ng mga undersecretary, at isinaalang-alang naman itong transition period na ito upang tiyakin na walang disruption in essential public services,” he said. PND (jm)

Palace: High number of presidential aspirants attests to dynamism of Philippine democracy
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Tuesday that the high number of presidential aspirants for the 2016 national elections attests to the dynamism of the country’s democracy and reflects the desire of well-meaning Filipinos to actively participate in the electoral process.

“Come election time, we expect our bosses to exercise sound judgment in their selection of future leaders of the country,” Secretary Coloma said during a media briefing at the Palace.

He noted that according to the Constitution, any natural born citizen who is more than 40 years old may run for president.

“Sino naman tayo para humadlang sa pagnanais ng mga indibidwal na ialay ang sarili nila sa paglilingkod,” he said.

He however said that the Commission on Election (COMELEC) follows a process to determine which candidates will be classified as nuisance candidates.

“Ang COMELEC ay mayroong sapat na kapangyarihan para magtakda ng mga patakaran at regulasyon at sila rin ang nangangasiwa sa proseso ng pag-alam kung ang mga naghain ng certificate of candidacy ay dapat na ituring na nuisance candidates ayon sa depinisyon sa batas,” Coloma explained.

“Mainam na ipaubaya na lamang natin ito sa COMELEC,” he said.

As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, 35 people have filed their respective certificates of candidacy for president, 7 for vice president, and 22 for senator.

The presidential aspirants include a 34-year-old tricycle driver, Ely Pamatong who was already declared a nuisance candidate in the 2004 election, and half-Russian Ralph Masloff. PND (ag)

APEC economies urged to assess vulnerability of energy sector
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have been urged to conduct a vulnerability assessment of their respective energy sectors to determine the possible impact of disasters on their energy infrastructure.

Department of Energy (DOE) officer-in-charge, Secretary Zenaida Monsada, said on Tuesday that the vulnerability assessment will be the foundation of member economies in creating a cooperation and sharing best practices that will guide policy and program decisions to ensure a reliable and sustained energy production.

Monsada made the statement during the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) being held at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort here.

“We have seen how communities are paralyzed during disasters when such infrastructure are affected and damaged,” said the Chair of the EMM.

“We all recognize that energy serves as the bloodline of economies and without reliable energy supply, economies will recover slower or worse, will not function at all,” she added.

During the EMM, Senator Loren Legarda noted in her keynote speech that Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), which battered the Philippines in 2013, had caused some US$155 million worth of damage to the electricity sector.

Legarda added that distribution utilities, which accounted for 76 percent of the total damage in the energy sector, were the hardest hit during the typhoon, causing disruptions in electricity supply to residential, commercial, and public consumers.

Monsada meanwhile said that the higher levels and intensity of disasters pose an alarming call for resilient energy infrastructure, not only in developing economies like the Philippines, but even in the most advanced economies.

Hence, the need for greater cooperation among APEC member economies to come up with innovative measures that will ensure energy security, sustainability and resiliency, she said.

“Cooperation is extremely important at this day and age, given the rapid economic landscapes that are being built and developing between and among economies,” she said. PNA (kc)

Senator bats for more public-private partnership investments and government subsidy to reduce power rates in the region
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Senator Loren Legarda is pushing for a two-pronged cooperation among richer economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in an effort to maintain low power rates in the region.

In an interview with reporters covering the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) here, Senator Legarda said more developed economies should invest in developing economies such as the Philippines, in the form of technical assistance and grants, as well as public-private partnerships with government subsidy to build more power plants to prevent further increase in electrical rates.

According to the senator, a known advocate of climate change and disaster risk reduction, lower power rates will attract investors to put their companies in the Philippines.

Legarda said more investments should pour into renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass.

“Definitely, it cannot be business as usual,” she said. “We must use technological innovations to be able to push renewable energy forward so we don’t have to rely on fossil fuels, including the very harmful coal,” she pointed out.

Managing Director of the International Energy Consultants (IEC), John Morris, said a study conducted by the company, identified Meralco rates as the 9th most expensive out of 44 distributors.

Based on the study, the 10 locations with the highest electricity rates are Hawaii, Italy, Malta, Japan (Kansai), Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, the Philippines (Meralco), and Singapore.

The country’s peers in Southeast Asia meanwhile ranked significantly lower in terms of electricity rates, with Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia landing in the 37th, 38th and 43rd spots, respectively.

The IEC study noted that the Philippines relies heavily on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas whose prices are pegged on international benchmarks. Even the price of natural gas from the offshore Malampaya field in Palawan is based on world oil prices.

These fuel sources account for 80 percent of power generation in Meralco’s service areas, which cover Metro Manila and nearby provinces. (APEC Communications Group)

APEC economies need to encourage public to tap energy-efficient technologies
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Aside from strengthening the cooperation between the public and private sectors in the Asia Pacific, member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) need to encourage the public to utilize energy-efficient technologies.

Department of Energy (DOE) officer-in-charge, Secretary Zenaida Monsada, during the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) on Tuesday, said the use of energy-efficient technologies could lead to a resilient and sustainable energy sector.

“Fostering energy resiliency also need not be too costly. We encourage the utilization of available energy-efficient technologies with the most cost-effective impact,” said Monsada, who also chairs this year’s EMM.

“This, hopefully, will also translate to positive impacts to the public by encouraging energy performance standards in building codes, energy appliances, smart metering devices, industrial equipment, fuel quality and vehicle efficiency,” she added.

She stressed that to achieve inclusive growth in the energy sector, energy resiliency should be a priority in communities, particularly in poverty-stricken areas and far-flung provinces.

The EMM Chair also urged APEC economies to train people to be more proactive by protecting energy infrastructure, be more resilient, and be knowledgeable about energy-efficient technologies and innovation.

Tapping energy efficiency technology is one of the strategies of the APEC to ensure energy security, sustainability, and resiliency.

Energy-efficient technologies will also support the APEC’s goal of reducing energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035. PNA (kc)

Senator Legarda spells out measures for cheaper renewable energy
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) The government could carry out several measures that would promote the use of renewable energy in the country without raising power rates, a Philippine legislator has said.

In an interview on Tuesday, Senator Loren Legarda said the government could arrange for investments in the energy sector, such as technical assistances and grants from wealthy countries.

The government, she said, could also look at public-private partnerships (PPP) to push renewable energy projects that will not jack up the prices of power once they become operational.

She also indicated that the government could allocate money or subsidize climate proofing energy infrastructure without passing the costs to consumers.

Another interesting area, which has not been discussed in the ongoing meeting here on energy, is the Small Power Utilities Group or SPUG in off-grid areas, she said.

“We (could) subsidize (them). They use very expensive diesel, which comes from far sources,” she said, noting that sometimes the cost reaches P22 per liter.

Legarda however said that if the government could come up with a hybrid, a combination of hydroelectric, solar and diesel, power prices would likewise be reduced.

“Bababa ang source ng energy mix and the universal charge being charged to consumers will also drop,” she said.

Once such an arrangement is approved by the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission, the universal charge will also go down, she added.

Legarda was the keynote speaker during the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting here on Tuesday.

She pushed for more investments on cleaner energy sources, energy resiliency against natural calamities, and the attainment of sufficient supply of electricity. PND (as)

President Aquino appoints Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Caguioa as ad interim Justice Secretary
President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel (CPLC) Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa as ad interim secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In a statement, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said a transmittal letter has been sent to the Commission on Appointments.

“According to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., President Aquino has appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa as ad interim Secretary of Justice, vice Leila de Lima, who resigned to seek a Senate seat,” Secretary Coloma said.

De Lima tendered her resignation on October 6 as DOJ chief to run for senator under the administration’s Liberal Party in next year’s elections.

Caguioa obtained his degree in Economics (Honors Program) from the College of Arts and Sciences of Ateneo de Manila University in 1981 (Honorable Mention), and graduated with honors from its College of Law in 1985, ranking fifth in his class.

He was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1986 after placing 15th in the 1985 Bar examinations.

He was appointed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel by President Aquino in 2013. PND (co)

APEC energy ministers adopt framework on energy resiliency
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Energy ministers of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies on Tuesday came up with a framework on energy resiliency at the conclusion of the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) here.

In a joint press conference, Department of Energy officer-in-charge and Chair of this year’s EMM, Secretary Zenaida Monsada, announced that in the said framework, the energy ministers of the 21 APEC member economies agreed that climate proofing of energy Infrastructure is a significant endeavor toward energy resiliency.

Monsada said the ministers adopted the recommendation of the APEC Energy Working Group (EWG) to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of energy efficiency.

“We agreed to develop minimum energy performance standards and explore the potential adoption of vehicle efficiency standards,” she said.

The recommendation also involves equal and gender-fair human resource capacity development, Monsada added.

Ministers likewise agreed to explore strategies to drive the shift toward green building via energy efficiency measures.

According to Monsada, the ministers also agreed to improve energy trade and investment in the APEC community.

She noted that the signing of the Joint Statement on EWG puts in place a platform for cooperation on broad areas.

Monsada said to support the collective efforts of expert groups are the two centers of excellence of the APEC energy cooperation — the Asia-Pacific Energy Research Centre, and the APEC Sustainable Energy Center.

The EWG has also recommended coming up with an energy eco-tourism development framework.

Monsada further announced that Mandaue City in Cebu has been chosen as the APEC’s Low Carbon Model Town Project.

This entitles Mandaue City to a study grant to determine measures to realize targets for green technology opportunities.

Meanwhile, APEC Executive Director Alan Bollard announced that in areas of cooperation in energy, APEC has a connectivity blueprint in place.

For his part, Australian Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the issue of energy access is one of the important ones discussed during the ministerial meeting.

“What we are doing here in terms of enhancing infrastructure is sharing best practices,” said Frydenberg. (APEC Communications Group)