British RE technology players studying opportunities in PHL

MANILA, June 17 (PNA) — British renewable energy (RE) technology providers are now in the Philippines to assess opportunities as the country’s sustained growth needs higher energy requirements in the future.

In a briefing at the Department of Energy (DOE) Tuesday, United Kingdom trade envoy to the Philippines George Freeman said the two-day trade and investment mission to the Philippines from June 17-18 aims to promote efficient use of energy without the need to construct new power plants.

He explained that as the Philippine economy continues to post robust growth, thus, there is a need to ensure that energy requirements are met.

”We see opportunities for the UK to support and develop the energy economy in the Philippines both in terms of larger manufacturing companies who will need energy security over the long term to invest and also to help the country develop a mix of energy supply,” he said.

Freeman explained that the meeting between Energy Secretary Carlos Petilla and the UK-based businessmen Tuesday aims to focus on renewable energy and how the energy sector can be resilient without investing into new power generation projects but instead on making sure that electricity is not being wasted.

”We want to highlight (to the) British companies that the Philippines is a market that you can have a lot of confidence in coming here to invest and building through the long-term,” he added.

Relatively, British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Anwar Ahmad, during the same briefing, said they are also in talks with Filipino legislators regarding the rules on foreign ownership in Philippine companies.

”Longer term we would look to Congressmen and legislators to liberate the market …where ownership is not always restricted, where we can partner with greater confidence than we already have,” he said.

Petilla, during the same event, said RE projects are more capital-intensive endeavours compared to coal and gas-fired power plants, thus, the need to encourage more foreign investors to put their money in the Philippines to help provide domestic energy requirements.

”So to promote that then we have to revisit the 60-40 (rule) without violating the Constitution and the laws,” he said.

On the part of the legislators, Mindoro Second District Representative Rey Umali said a resolution has been filed before the House of Representative proposing for some changes in the current provision of the Constitution regarding foreign ownership.

He was referring to the bill submitted by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte proposing for the relaxation of the limits on foreign ownerships in country to increase foreign investments and create more jobs.

“This will open a lot of possibilities particularly to address particularly the concerns of foreign investors,” he added. (PNA)