PNBC hosted its members for its regular lunch-meetings on 30th of March, 2023. Our guest speaker was Atty. Jay Layug, accompanied by Atty. Richie Pilares, who shared with us details and consequences of two critical changes in the regulatory landscape in the Philippines:
- The removal of foreign ownership limitations for domestic shipping, and
- The removal of foreign ownership limitations for renewable energy projects.
The former, while welcome, is moving slowly forwards. There remains work to be done when it comes to ensuring that all arms of the government are aligned and seeing this for what it is – a boost for the domestic shipping-industry. This issue is especially poignant following the environmental disaster after the sinking of “Princess Empress”, highlighting the need for continued investments into the domestic maritime sector.
The latter, very much Atty. Layug’s home turf, was succinctly summarized by our speaker: We need more energy, preferably renewables or at least lower-carbon than coal and oil, and we need it very quickly as the supply-demand balance is turning unfavorable. This deterioration of the supply-demand balance was one of the key forces enabling the new interpretation of natural resources. In addition, Atty. Layug highlighted the fact that earlier incentives from the government to increase the share of renewables in the energy-system has saved Filipinos billions of pesos as it protects consumers from the swings in the world’s energy markets. This is perhaps a little-known aspect of the broader energy-policy pursued by some of the former administrations as well as the current.
We look forward to welcoming Atty. Layug back as he is and remains an excellent speaker on these topics.