Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr. underscored the BSP’s commitment to further champion its sustainability agenda in the financial system during the Post-State of the Nation Address Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on 14 August 2023.
In his opening remarks, BSP Governor Remolona said, “We want to strengthen our programs for sustainability, but we want sustainability with a heart.” He further underscored that these measures should not be at the expense of the poor.
Strategies should consider not only the risks but green economic opportunities for vulnerable sectors such as electric tricycles, pay-as-you-go solar, and other small-scale projects.
The Governor emphasized that the BSP recognizes possible adverse effects of climate and other environmental and social risks on price and financial stability.
Placing this into practice, the BSP is implementing the Sustainable Central Banking (SCB) Strategic Program that aims to promote sustainability principles and practices in its own policies and operations as well as in the financial system.
The BSP also mobilizes funds toward green projects and implements sustainability-related guidelines to strengthen the capacity of banks to manage environmental and social risks, as well as to unlock financing for green or sustainable projects, including transitional activities for decarbonization. This forms part of the central bank’s 11-point strategy under the SCB Program.
In his keynote speech, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary and Monetary Board Member Benjamin E. Diokno highlighted that the Philippines has opened the renewable energy sector to full foreign ownership, which is expected to provide more high-quality and green jobs for all Filipinos.
The Ilocos region is a promising location for sustainability-related initiatives. It is home to the largest wind energy farm in the country, Burgos Wind Farm, which has a capacity of 150 megawatts (MW). The region also has two other wind energy farms, one of which is the Bangui Wind Farm, the first to operate in Southeast Asia. The region’s three wind projects—in the municipalities of Bangui, Burgos, and Pagudpud—provide a total of 282.9 MW of wind energy capacity.
During the panel discussion on the country’s fast-growing and forward-looking economy, BSP Governor Remolona also provided updates on the Ilocos region and the country’s economic outlook, together with DOF Secretary Diokno, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Carlos Bernardo O. Abad Santos, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Ilocos Norte President Atty. Cherrie Grace P. Bareng-Asistin.
The PEB also featured two other panel discussions, one of which is on infrastructure and attended by Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy, Department of Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, and Public-Private Partnership Center Executive Director Ma. Cynthia C. Hernandez.
Another panel on industries, services, and job opportunities was conducted with Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, Department of Tourism Undersecretary Mae Elaine T. Bathan, Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Marlo L. Iringan, and Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla as panelists.
Private sector panelists included AC Energy Corporation Executive Director for Corporate Finance Juan Martin L. Syquia and Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives Chief Executive Officer Divina C. Quemi.
The sessions were moderated by DBM Undersecretary Margaux Marie V. Salcedo and DOF Undersecretary Atty. Maria Luwalhati C. Dorotan-Tiuseco.