Gov’t urged to set clear policy on energy


President Rodrigo Duterte should decide on a clear policy for the country’s energy sector as there is conflict between the demand for reliable and affordable electricity and the pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The president should decide what’s the policy when it comes to the coal plants,” Teresa Ira Maris Guanzon said.

Guanzon is one of the authors of a set of policy briefs offering recommendations to the government to help achieve its economic agenda while also addressing climate change.

The policy briefs were issued by Ateneo de Manila University’s School of Government and international consulting firm SSG Advisors.

During a briefing yesterday, Guanzon said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) seems to be combative of coal plants, and in contrast the Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes its use for reliable, secure and affordable electricity.

The policy briefs also said the government needs an extensive road map to set policy direction and send a clear message to the private sector around points that take into account climate change and an optimal energy mix.

One of the authors of the policy briefs and Ateneo professor Antonio G.M. La Viña said the President’s sentiments on the Paris agreement are “good questions that the country must answer before we ratify.”

However, La Viña said the Paris agreement does not necessarily limit the country’s capability to industrialize. While 70 percent of emissions reductions may be too high, he noted this could be reviewed.

He added non-ratification is equivalent to leaving the country out of the funding for climate adaptation and resiliency, especially since the Philippines is one of the countries that are greatly impacted by climate change.

“If we never ratify, we take ourselves out of the global discussions on how to address climate change,” he said.

Last week, the President reiterated that he has no plans to ratify the Paris agreement, which has recently been ratified and will take effect on November 4.