17 October 2015

APEC News Release

APEC energy ministers urge member economies to support green energy finance initiative
(LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu) Energy ministers throughout the Asia Pacific rim have called on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies to increase their investments in green economy through an initiative that aims to provide a framework and platform for dialogue and cooperation specifically for green energy finance in the region, as well as endeavors to promote the public private partnership in green energy finance.

Reporting on the outcome of the recently concluded 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting held here earlier this week, Philippine Energy officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada said the energy ministers have adopted to improve energy trade and investment in the APEC community emphasizing increasing investment in green economy through Green Energy Finance among others.

The call was issued even as a rebound of green energy investment worldwide was noted the previous year with a surge of a solid 17 percent to $270 billion (around P12.4 trillion), even with sharply lower crude oil prices. This was mainly driven by the promotion of green energy in the Asia-Pacific region, especially by investments in solar and wind energy. In addition, according to data issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA), investments in energy efficiency market is worth at least $360 billion (around P16.6 trillion) in 2012, which was higher than that in renewable energy and traditional fossil fuel power generation sector. This confirms the position of energy efficiency as the world’s “first fuel.”

In recent years, APEC has also made great efforts in green energy trade and investment issues by conducting various workshops and dialogues on green energy industries. However, green energy financing issue which involve cross-cutting expertise of public policy, energy technology and industry, and financing were less addressed in the fora.

This has led to the conclusion that despite most APEC economies actively investing in green growth, there are still a lot of difficulties to maintain the growth pace of low carbon energy investment and to realize the investment level that satisfying the needs of green economy.

High upfront costs, the nature of capital intensiveness, the use of fossil fuel subsidy, and policy and regulatory factors were identified as having an impact on the sustainability of renewable energy investment.

To overcome the barriers in either developed or developing economies to ensure the financial sustainability in renewable energy and energy efficiency fields, which will be positive for regional energy security, energy officials and experts pointed out the need for more supportive and stable policy and regulatory framework are needed In addition to sound public policy and effective regulatory system, flexible financing markets can nourish sustainable green energy investment while banks serve as important channels for investment in green economy from private sectors.

On the other hand, to continue the momentum of energy trade and investment issues promoted in APEC, the Green Energy Finance initiative was established this year. following its proposal by Chinese Taipei.

The initiative aims to provide a framework and platform for dialogue and cooperation specifically for green energy finance in the APEC region, as well as endeavors to promote the public private partnership in green energy finance. It will promote the experience sharing and knowledge dissemination with regard to the governance that improve the participation of banks and capital market in green energy finance, and the formulation of clear, stable and consistent policies and regulatory system.

In addition, this initiative will seek dialogue with related international organizations and multilateral financial institutions to expand the scope of APEC cross-organizational cooperation to the development of green energy finance. Likewise, it will also strengthen the capacity building of green energy finance by means of exchange of experts, technology, product and services, in order to meet the needs of increasing green energy finance programs and related risk assessment.

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to support the financial sustainability of renewable energy and energy efficiency to further ensure regional energy security and success of transformation to low carbon economy in the APEC region. (APEC Communications Group)

Government readies more than P18 million as response to Typhoon Lando
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has readied an standby fund of more than P18 million as response to the possible devastation by Typhoon Lando, which is expected to make landfall in northern Luzon on Sunday morning, the Palace said on Saturday.

In a radio interview, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said various government agencies have done the necessary preparations as the typhoon moves towards Luzon.

“As of yesterday afternoon, the DSWD has made available a total of P18,461,984.69 in standby funds, 196,737 family food packs, and P158,164,761.76 worth of food and non-food items,” Valte said in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

DSWD is stockpiling relief goods and is being supported by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). DPWH has readied heavy equipment in anticipation of road clearing operations, Valte said.

The Department of Health (DOH) has sufficient supply of medicines and first aid equipment if needed, while the DOE and NEA are ready to respond if there are power outages.

The DILG, PNP, and BFP are actively implementing Oplan Listo, and our Armed Forces and Coast Guards are also on standby, she added.

“The government is prepared for this and has undertaken all the necessary measures to ensure that we reach our zero-casualty target,” she said.

“For their part, the public is advised to stay tuned to government websites like the Official Gazette and PAGASA to keep updated on the latest weather updates.”

In a televised address on Friday evening, President Aquino warned the public about the effects of Typhoon Lando, advising residents in affected areas to prepare and not to panic.

Typhoon Lando, which packs maximum sustained winds of 150 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph, is expected to move at a slower pace because of high-pressure areas and the presence of Typhoon Champi.

The accelerated evaporation caused by El Niño will result in greater intake of moisture, thus increasing the rainfall volume. PAGASA has estimated that heavy rainfall will last for 6 to 12 hours.

As of 5 am today, Typhoon Lando was located atand 335 km east of Baler, Aurora. It is forecasted to be moving west at 12 kph and possibly make landfall over the Aurora-Isabela area between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Storm Signal No. 3 has been raised over Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, and Polillo Island. The following areas have been placed under Storm Signal No. 2: Northern Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Cagayan, Babuyan, and the Calayan group of Islands.

Among those placed under Storm Signal No. 1 include Batanes, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Batangas, Laguna, Southern Quezon, Cavite, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Metro Manila. PND (as)

Philippines wants ASEAN’s collective decision on China’s South China Sea naval drills
The Philippines wants Southeast Asian nations to discuss China’s proposal of holding naval drills with the Association of Southeast Asian Nation countries in the South China Sea.

“The Philippine position will be discussed in ASEAN. Hintayin na lang po natin ‘yung magiging discussion na ito,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said when asked to comment on China’s proposal.

China’s defense minister said on Friday he was willing to hold joint drills in the disputed South China Sea with Southeast Asian countries to prevent accidental encounters and for the effective conduct of search and rescue operations.

China’s relations with several Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines and Vietnam, have soured in recent years because of the Asian giant’s assertive posture in the region.

China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea, which is a major sea lane for trade.

As to the meeting of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin with the representative of China and the improving relations between the two countries, Valte reiterated the multifaceted relations of China and the Philippines despite their differences in the South China Sea issue.

“We have always maintained that our relationship with China is multifaceted—meaning, maraming level, maraming pinag-uusapan,” Valte said.

“At naniniwala naman tayo na kahit mayroong sigalot involving our neighbor, we will always endeavor to do well and to deepen the other facets of our relationship,”

“Our lines of communication have always been open when it comes to discussing the other facets of our relationship.”

Valte also commented on the plan of the US to fly surveillance planes in the South China Sea to insist freedom of navigation saying it’s up to the US to carryout such military activities.

The Philippines has no right to dictate on what another country wishes to do on a particular situation, she said.

Valte emphasized however that freedom of navigation and regional stability must be maintained in the area because a good bulk of world trade passes through that region.

“It is important that parties are free to pass through without any intimidation or harassment, and everyone follows international law,” she said. PND (as)

Aquino administration renews commitment to fight poverty
With less than a year before bowing out of office, the Aquino administration renewed its commitment to eradicate poverty in the country though anti-poverty reduction initiatives particularly the conditional cash transfer program (CCT).

The world observes today, October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

“Poverty is one of the things that we face on a daily basis—nakikita natin ‘yon—and you see how important the steps that we are taking against poverty, kasi ang gusto nga po natin ay walang maiiwan, katulad ng laging sinasabi ng Pangulong Aquino,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Saturday.

“At least, in the final year of the president’s term, we remain committed to all the programs that are aimed or geared towards reducing poverty.”

One of the administration’s landmark programs is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program aimed at helping those in the fifth quintile or the poorest of the poor to get out of poverty.

The government eyes to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring that pregnant women undergo regular checkups and children from poor families go to school.

The administration is also conducting trainings for the poor as well as extending livelihood to expose them to better economic opportunities.

The government also extends support through healthcare especially to the poorest of the poor by expanding PhilHealth coverage.

“These are just some of the efforts of the administration to curb or to eradicate poverty, and we hope that this will still continue, at sana hindi matapos lamang sa Aquino administration,” she said.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly, by resolution 47/196, designated October 17 to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.

Poverty eradication remains at the core of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the development of the new Sustainable Development Goals, according to the United Nations.

The 2015 observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is a special one, as it comes on the heels of the adoption of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The agenda, which succeeds the MDGs, contains 17 new and ambitious goals–foremost among them is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.” PND (as)