By Myrna M. Velasco – December 1, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin
In this era of ‘minimizing regrets’ for offending the environment, Filipino tycoons are taking their pitch on the country’s energy resiliency agenda – or on a future that will make energy facilities less vulnerable to calamity-induced destructions.
First in line into making their pledges to it are Ayala Corporation Chief Executive Officer Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Aboitiz Equity Ventures CEO Erramon I. Aboitiz, First Pacific Co. Ltd. CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan, and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation President and CEO Cesar G. Romero.
The common denominator in the companies of these chief executives are their leaning on fossil fuels – having coal-fired power plant operations or venture into the downstream oil industry.
Amid dissent, these energy facilities still contribute to heat trapping emissions that contribute to the world’s major dilemma of climate change risks, which in turn, are natural disaster triggers.
The strike of disasters in the country had hurtled from bad to worst – and in these times of natural calamities, these giant industry players will often contribute their share in the rehabilitation of damaged energy facilities.
But such will still not deny the fact that energy infrastructures in the country are still of the ‘third world mold’, hence, resiliency is still an agenda that needs to be tugged into the front line of required service improvements.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi announced the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the business magnates, but concretizing the agenda is still the blurry part.
The energy resiliency program, according to Cusi, “fleshes out the government’s disaster risk reduction plans, programs and activities intended to minimize the impact of calamities like earthquakes, typhoons and floods.”
Beyond the promise of dialogue between and among the DOE, the Philippine Disaster Resiliency Foundation (PDRF) and the business sector, however, the MOU is still considerably implausible on tangible energy resiliency standpoint.
As agreed, the token plans shall cover activities towards energy resiliency, conduct joint exercises to test disaster response protocols and engage other sectors in disaster-risk reduction and climate change adaptation.