MANILA— Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday said that one of her first acts if elected president this year is to order the review of pending energy service contracts in the West Philippine Sea.
This, as the Malampaya natural gas field is drying out soon.
In a business forum for presidential aspirants organized by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippine (FINEX), the presidential aspirant laid down her plans for the economy, from the energy sector to the mining industry, among others.
Robredo said her administration will provide support to companies to fast-track the development of more oil fields.
“There are pending applications for service contracts that have not been acted upon so number 1 there should be an immediate review of all these applications and award them as soon as possible,” Robredo said.
She also added that nuclear power could be on her plans as she also aims to prioritize renewable energy sources.
“It is very clear to us that we are focusing our goals on really moving away from fossil fuel dependence and when you talk of nuclear power we always talk of what are the proper safeguards and technology for safety to minimize environmental impact,” the Vice President said.
Robredo, however, emphasized that all her economic decisions will be guided by her belief on good governance and transparency as she was asked about various issues.
On the matter of attracting more foreign investments, she said that while she agrees to possible constitutional amendments, there are other ways of addressing problems such as the passage of the proposed responsible public service law.
“I am very much open to exploring any proposed constitutional amendments that would unlock current roadblocks that are thrown our way as long as we ensure that the process is open, transparent and the people are given the opportunity to participate,” she said.
Robredo also said that she is for responsible mining but on the condition that indigenous peoples and local communities are given utmost importance.
She will also certify as urgent the National Land Use Act which she also authored when she was a congresswoman.
“We must ensure first and foremost of course that the environment will be protected and that the benefits we gain from mining activities go back to communities and contribute to wholistic national development,” Robredo said.
Robredo also agreed on taxing the rich more but with a caveat.
“While I’m open to taxing the rich more I don’t think that should only be the only solution that should be given,” Robredo said.
A staunch critic of China on the West Philippine Sea issue, she reiterated her stance on the enforcement of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration as she was asked if she is amenable to a joint venture agreement with China.
“Ang atin ay atin, our foreign policy will always put the interests of our country and our people first, we will have to address challenges always with courage and honor, and we should be unrestrained by fear and be free from the influence of political power,” Robredo said.
On a lighter note, Robredo was asked who will be her official escort as president.
She said that her family has not discussed the matter yet but it will probably be one of her 3 daughters.
“Defintely no first gentleman,” she chuckled.