MANILA,  August 7, 2004
(Office of the Press Secretary, Malacanang) 
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today bared a five-point framework on the energy independence and savings reform package she promised in her July 26 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The overall objective is to reduce energy importation to achieve a 60 percent self-sufficiency by 2010, the President said in her address at the general membership meeting and silver anniversary celebration of the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA) at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City.

This can be achieved, the President said, by: increasing reserves of indigenous oil and gas through exploration and becoming the world’s top producer of geothermal energy in the world; developing renewable energy potential such as biomass, solar, wind and ocean resources; increasing use of alternative fuels like natural gas; firming up strategic alliances with other countries, particularly long time energy partners like Saudi Arabia, ASEAN neighbors, China and Russia; and saving on energy through strong efficiency and conservation programs. "We need a reform package industry-wide of energy savings and independence because we have always been dependent on imported energy and therefore, vulnerable to the vagaries of global politics and economics, particularly events bearing on oil supply such as war, terrorism, and currency fluctuations," the President emphasized.

The Philippine National Oil Corp. (PNOC) will be upgraded to improve success rates in discovering new oil and gas reserves, she said.

The government has launched the first ever international geothermal bid round to invite private sector investment in 10 geothermal fields throughout the country and several major Japanese companies have already indicated interest, the President added.

There are opportunities for the development, utilization and commercialization of 16 wind power areas in the country, she pointed out.

The use of natural gas in public transport was introduced early this year and government will ensure that natural gas powered-buses will start plying the major routes in Metro Manila up to Calamba by 2005.

Inactive power plants such as Sucat, Limay, Malaya and the Bataan Nuclear Plant will be converted to gas-fired pants in 2005.

The program for coco-diesel as an alternative fuel will be accelerated.

In strategic alliances, the Philippines and Thailand are arranging for the use of the former US-Naval fuel storage facility in the Subic Freeport to make it a regional facility.

The President has directed the Department of Energy to spearhead a nationwide energy efficiency and conservation program.

"All these initiatives will significantly reduce our energy importation that will lead to 60 percent energy self-sufficiency for the Philippines by 2010," the President said.

"I have laid down these frameworks upon which future leaders can build. We must brace for more work ahead of us. But I can tell the whole Philippines before our pioneering electric coops, our electric cooperatives have been able to do it. Now the rest of the country can do it in the future," the President concluded.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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