MANILA – The Philippines’ largest business group said the government should look into negotiating deals with other governments to ensure a sufficient supply of coal for the country’s energy needs.
PCCI also called the development of alternative sources of power supply, specifically solar and biomass, which could be deployed in viable sites, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao.
George Barcelon, PCCI president, said Indonesia’s recent move to restrict its coal exports showed how vulnerable the Philippines was to coal supply disruption. PCCI noted that the country imports nearly 70 percent of its coal.
“We could easily see this happening in our country in the summertime with few to zero alternative in sight unless Indonesia listens to the pleas of coal-importing countries,” Barcelon said.
He said policymakers should look into proposals for a government-to-government procurement or agreement, similar to the Reciprocity Agreement in 1973 where the Philippines helped Indonesia develop its geothermal technology in exchange for cheaper coal.
“Alternatively, the Philippines could turn to bioenergy renewable power where all LGUs are mandated to put up their own generating facility, mandating renewable materials and resources such as solar panels, in the building code and waste-to-energy programs especially as the country is aiming to build back better and greener,” PCCI said.
The business group however added that while renewable energy resources could be rapidly deployed in certain areas, coal is still critical to fuel the country’s economy because it is the most stable source of energy.