Consumer groups advocating relief and reform programs as well as renewable energy development to aid the people’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis and transform the power sector for the better expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of concrete plans for the sector in President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.
“We are disappointed that the President did not reaffirm his directive to the Department of Energy to reduce the country’s reliance on coal. There was no mention of a sanction on Secretary Al Cusi, whose ‘technology neutral’ approach was an act of brazen disobedience to a direct presidential order,” the Power for People Coalition said.
The same sentiment was aired by the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development after Duterte did not reaffirm his directive to the DOE to expedite the expansion of renewable energy in the country, a directive which rang hollow as the department instead opted for its “technology neutral” approach.
“The President seemed content with his motherhood statement, but environmentalists and renewable energy advocates would not be satisfied. They were looking for reassurance that Duterte is still on the side of the environment through a reaffirmation of his directive to Cusi in the previous SONA, as well as a declaration of support for coal divestment,” said CEED research, policy and law program head Avril de Torres.
The groups wanted President Duterte not to dally with urgent power sector reforms and the transition to sustainable resources with only 2 years left in his term.
Power sector and renewable energy advocates are counting on the falling costs of renewable energy developments should allow it to replace dirty coal. All the country needs is its leadership to set the direction and priorities. Even if our president has other more important concerns in his list of priorities, hopefully the country continues to reform its power sector and shift to renewable energy sources.*