(Taguig City). Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the participation of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) last week in Hainan, China manifested the open, pro-business stance of the Duterte Administration and was “a sign that the Philippines is ready for all, not just for China, but for all countries.”
In a live interview on Thursday at the Bloomberg TV studios in Hong Kong, the DOE Chief said, “Reforms are kicking in, the ease of doing business is improving, foreign direct investment restriction is easing up so it’s becoming very conducive for everyone to invest in the Philippines.”
After attending the BFA as part of the Duterte’s Cabinet's Delegation, Cusi disclosed that the government has formed a panel to formulate a framework on a joint exploration between the Philippines and China, saying that, “The joint exploration of the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea is very important for us to ensure our energy development and energy security.”
According to the DOE Chief, there currently is a Moratorium on Exploration in the West Philippine Sea, and this new framework is being fast-tracked so that a deal would hopefully be signed within the year.
“Filipino-Sino relations have risen to heights with regards to the South China Sea, having set up a joint panel to strike a consensus about how best to harness the potentials of the existing gas fields.”
Under a scenario of rising oil prices, Cusi believes that as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the Philippines needs to build up its power capacity to support the Administration’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
Noting that the country will require an additional 44,000 megawatts of power until 2040, Cusi opined there will be no problem regarding overcapacity since energy plants take time to build and he foresees a 6% growth per year in terms of power capacity.
Cusi added that small players like the Philippines are concerned about the looming trade war between the US and China because “When elephants stomp their feet, everybody gets affected.”
This comes amid great interest in the Philippine economy, driven by nine consecutive quarters of above-6% growth synchronized with the Duterte Administration’s push for more infrastructure initiatives.
Visit https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-04-12/philippines-energy-secretary-on-sea-exploration-oil-prices-video for the complete interview.