NEDA bets on P1 trillion ‘Blue Economy’ to boost growth

The Butendiek Offshore Windfarm in the North Sea, around 30 kilometers off the island of Sylt, Germany, on 15 August 2016. (Daniel Reinhardt, EPA via ABS-CBN News)

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Wednesday said it plans to push for the “Blue Economy” bill this year as part of efforts to boost economic growth.

The agency said the value of the country’s maritime sector, including its ocean and resources linked to it, is estimated to hit over P1 trillion.

At the 8th Joint Economic Briefing organized by various foreign chambers in the country, NEDA Usec. Rosemarie Edillon revealed they will support the proposed “Blue Economy Act” sponsored by Senator Loren Legarda.

Edillon added that it could even be worth more than the earlier estimates.

“We first need to have that framework to develop the blue economy that will include resorts, that will include diving spots, the maritime sector, ocean energy, all those offshore wind,” said Edillon.

The World Bank defines the blue economy as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihood and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.” Its scope included fisheries, maritime transport, tourism, climate change, waste management, and renewable energy.

“It’s an untapped potential. It consists of so many economic activities that can be done,” she added.

The Department of Energy said it can also contribute to this blue economy as the agency pushed for more renewable energy projects, which include hydro, wind, tidal, and offshore wind.

DOE Usec. Rowena Guevara said there are 1,186 renewable energy service contracts awarded under the RE Law as of November 2023 with a total potential capacity of 132.9 gigawatts. So far only 5.7 GW have been installed.

Guevara, however, noted that they are also preparing for El Niño this year, which will affect the power supply in the country.

“Worry lang namin is the El Niño, mga hydro natin, some of them may go down by as much as 70 percent. We are already preparing,” she said.

The economic briefing was organized by the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (BCCP), Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (DCCP), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines (CCIFP), German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (NordCham Philippines), and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (La Camara). (ABS-CBN News)