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Opening remarks of Undersecretary Loreta G. Ayson at the APEC Special Energy Working Group meeting

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Undersecretary Loreta G. Ayson
Department of Energy 

Shangri-la Mactan, Cebu
October 12, 2015

APEC Special Energy Working Group Meeting:
Towards and Energy Resilient APEC Community

Opening Remarks

Allow me to greet you “Magandang Umaga” in Filipino and “Maayong pag-about sa Cebu” in Cebuano, which means good morning and welcome to Cebu!

The year 2015 is a banner year for the Philippines as it proudly hosts the series of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings to culminate in November with the conduct of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

We feel greatly honored and privileged to have been given this distinct opportunity to boast of the country’s best — the warm welcoming smiles of its people, wonderful beaches (in which Cebu is richly endowed with), friendly locals, and a wide range of cuisines to savor.

This year, however, we wish to highlight that the Philippines is not only for vacations and adventures, but also a showcase for business opportunities and a cooperation hub among nations and economies, for the sharing of best practices, and endless possibilities to work for the 2015 APEC theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.” We have to recognize that we are currently in an era of rapid change where resilience is key. The approach to growth and that is what the APEC 2015 is all about, must focus on engaging communities to be more empowered, sustainable, and resilient.

Prior to this meeting, the Experts Group on New and Renewable Energy Technologies (44th EGNRET) met in the far north of the Philippines in Laoag, Ilocos Norte in April of this year to discuss efforts of APEC member-economies in reaching the aspirational goal of doubling RE capacity by 2030. The Experts Group on Energy Efficiency and Conservation (46th EGEEC) also gathered here in Cebu last month to map out projects and programs to achieve yet another aspirational goal of APEC which is a 45 percent reduction in APEC-wide energy intensity by 2035 (with 2005 as the base year).

In the next two days, the Philippines is adding another milestone with our hosting of the back-to-back meetings of the Energy Working Group (Special Meeting) and the 12th APEC Energy Ministers Meeting or EMM12 to tackle an important topic especially for vulnerable APEC economies that fall victims to natural and human-induced disasters.

A record of events showed death tolls reaching tens to thousands when nature unleashes its fury. Such were the devastation caused by a 9.3- magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake resulting in Sumatran Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina (US, 2005), Tabasco and Chiapas Floods (Mexico, 2007), Cyclone Nargis (Myanmar, 2008), the largest accidental spill in world history in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Tohoku earthquake and tsunami (Japan, 2011), Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines, 2013), just to name of few.

Recognizing this global concern on climate change, we in international fora such as APEC, believe that now is the more opportune time to heighten discussions and information sharing, learning from each other’s experiences and best practices and come up with a collective action “towards an energy resilient APEC community,” as this year’s APEC EMM12 goes.

In fact, our senior disaster risk management officials already started the discussions in Iloilo City last month, as they engaged themselves in talks on greater cooperation among economies in terms of disaster risk reduction and management. Hopefully, today and tomorrow, we will also be able to finalize and firm up our framework on energy resiliency, the Cebu Declaration and Instructions, which all of us have been working on for several months now.

In closing, allow me to thank all of you for coming over from far away places despite your heavy schedule. Hopefully, we will be able to finish the task at hand smoothly and without much difficulty and when all the meetings are done, please take the time to explore the wonderful province of Cebu to experience the local culture and what the Philippines has to offer. As we always say, “it is more fun in the Philippines.”

Thank you and Mabuhay!

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