CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — An energy consumer advocacy group called on the incoming administration of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. to choose the next Department of Energy (DOE) secretary based on his or her proven track record.
The Power for People Coalition (P4P) in a statement Friday, June 11, noted that the next DOE chief should advance renewable energy against political pressure from vested interests who stand to profit at the expense of consumers.
This as Southeast Asian nations continue to embrace the use of fossil gas, also known as natural gas, and its cooled form liquefied natural gas (LNG) in their transition away from coal.
Like its regional neighbors, the Philippines faces the challenge of a rapidly growing population and growing energy demand, according to a May 12, 2022 report posted on the website Energy Tracker Asia.
“What do developing countries like the Philippines need? Affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity. With the war in Ukraine, we see an exacerbation of already rising prices for fossil gas,” said Gerry Arances, P4P convenor.
He said the outgoing administration of Rodrigo Duterte, through the policies of incumbent DOE chief Alfonso Cusi, chose to embrace dependence on imported fossil gas in years to come instead of tapping locally abundant renewable energy sources like solar and wind, to the detriment of consumers.
“[President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.] should know how unwise it will be to continue on that path,” Arances added.
The P4P convenor said the effects of the country’s ill-considered reliance on fossil fuels is now evident, with rising inflation and shortages in many goods brought about by skyrocketing fuel costs.
“Every administration said that they want to secure energy independence for the Philippines. But their actions belied their words, because every administration chose fossil fuels – then coal and now fossil gas – and consumers are now left with electricity bills they cannot afford,” he said.
Based on recent news reports, Agnes Devanadera, the current Energy Regulatory Commission chairperson, has already been floated as one of the possible replacements of Sec. Cusi. (davaotoday.com)