President Aquino Speech at the Philippine National Oil Company - Exploration Corporation 35th Anniversary


Speech
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the 35th Anniversary of the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation
[Delivered at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on April 15, 2011]
P-NoyThe recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has made life more difficult for us. We are a country where a large portion of our oil requirements are imported; making us vulnerable to forces we have no control over. As we have seen, if something happens in Libya, Bahrain, or even Egypt, we pay the price—in the form of higher fuel cost. Consumers end up spending more for fuel and have less money for other necessities.
Our government is not taking this lying down. We are taking steps to protect our people from possible disruptions in supply and the volatility of the world oil market.
Over the last two decades, we have diversified our sources of electricity to prevent possible supply disruptions from impacting our power supply. We now produce a significant amount of geothermal power, and with the Malampaya field, we are increasingly using natural gas for our power plants. PNOC-EC, which owns 10 percent of Malampaya, is a big part of this.
I am also hopeful that PNOC-EC’s eight petroleum service contracts will eventually yield commercial quantities of natural gas and/or oil that can allow us to reduce our dependence on imported fuel.
But it is not just electricity. Through the PNOC-EC’s downstream LNG distribution project, Malampaya natural gas can soon fuel public buses plying our streets. The Department of Energy’s Philippine Energy Efficiency Project is an ambitious multi-year plan to wean public utility vehicles from the use of gasoline and diesel and to encourage them to shift to alternatives like natural gas, electricity, and even hybrid engines. Two days ago in Mandaluyong City, we launched a fleet of 20 electric tricycles. Those 20 e-tricycles are the first batch of 20,000 that we plan to provide to tricycle drivers throughout Metro Manila and, eventually, the rest of the country. I would like to see the day when nearly all public utility vehicles—jeepneys, buses, and tricycles—run on alternative fuel, freeing the public transport sector and commuters from the threat of unreasonably high oil prices and unhealthy levels of air pollution.
The Philippine Energy Efficiency Project will take some time to implement. In the meantime, we are doing what we can to ease the burden. Energy Secretary Rene Almendras has spearheaded the Pantawid Pasada, a temporary financial assistance program for the public transport sector. The initial 450 million pesos for this has already been set aside and legitimate transport operators will be able to avail of this in the coming weeks. You at PNOC-EC are also doing your share by fulfilling your new mandate of building up a strategic diesel reserve. Like strategic reserves in other countries, we will accumulate a stockpile of fuel for the country’s use in times of extraordinary need.  I am told that the first shipment of 50 million liters of diesel will be ready by May 2011.
PNOC-EC is certainly a key player in all of these efforts to improve our energy and fuel security. And I am happy to note that your role is underpinned by a strong financial position, as shown by the 3 billion pesos you are remitting to the national government today. This money will fund much needed projects that we are undertaking for our people.
But more important than the money that you remit, you are helping realize a dream of a better Philippines. As an important partner in our Energy Efficiency Project, you are helping to usher in a new day for the country—a day in which our people are no longer hostage to the rising price of a scarce commodity.
If we continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder, if we continue utilizing our inherent creativity in looking for sustainable and clean energy sources, if we remain committed to fulfilling our roles in our collective responsibilities, then I have no doubt in my mind: We will refuel this nation with hard work, ingenuity, and hope.  We will succeed.
Thank you and good day.