Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr. of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) recently cited World Bank data stating that 1.1 billion people out of the current world population of 7.8 billion still have no access to electricity as he emphasized the gargantuan challenge the world faces in ensuring universal access to affordable and clean energy.
“The road to enduing energy poverty is a long one, but we must recognize that developing technologies is only half the battle won,” Sanchez said, stressing that it is important to create an enabling environment so that communities in need have access to these technologies.
Sanchez made these remarks during the “MES 18 Traveling Conference” jointly organized by the UPLB, the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and the Technical University of Berlin – Microenergy Systems (MES) group. The workshop was the third and final leg of roving workshops which had been held earlier in Indonesia and Singapore.
Director Gil Saguiguit Jr. of SEARCA said during the workshop that was attended by scientists and academics and was aimed to establish a platform for knowledge exchange and find potential collaboration between Germany and the Southeast Asian region. He adds that his organization is “focused on resource-poor farmers and how to get technologies to them.”
Sanchez, in his energy data-rich message, discussed what he called “decentralized energy,” which has the potential of reducing carbon emissions and minimizing transmission losses, saying the Philippines has much to gain from it. As it is, the country experiences an average of 20 occurrences of power outage per year. This is in stark contrast to the United States and European Union countries that suffer significantly less outages of only 1.5 times a year and 0.5-2.2 times a year respectively. Sanchez adds this is ironic because the Philippines has potential to be a leader in clean and renewable energy.
The Philippines is a country that continues to lag in terms of energy security despite well-established advantages in the energy sector. We could go a long way in reducing widespread energy poverty and the poor quality of energy and service being delivered into our homes if our bureaucrats and technocrats can find ways to make those advantages work for the Filipino people.*