PH, US launch program for energy policy, devt

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THE United States is partnering with the Philippines on a program to help the country formulate policies to bring down power costs.

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Launched on Tuesday, the Energy Policy and Development Program (EPDP) is a collaboration between the governments of the Philippines and the United States.

EPDP is a four-year, P225 million ($5 million) project that aims to strengthen the government’s capacity to formulate evidence-based policies and strategies for the cost-effective use of energy resources toward an environmentally sound energy development program.

EPDP is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and will be implemented by UPecon Foundation Inc.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg said EPDP will work to promote an energy policy and reform agenda.

“This new partnership will help develop and promote knowledge, research and best practices in the energy sector that will be important to sustain the impressive growth achieved by the Philippines in the recent years,” he added.

Goldberg said the Philippines needs stable supply and low-cost power as it becomes one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

“The Philippines represents new opportunities for trade and investment that create jobs.
Crucial to this, businesses need stable supply and low-cost power to be competitive while households need access to reliable and affordable electricity to be productive,” Goldberg said.

EPDP will operate as an independent think tank that guides and informs policy and decision-making, and provides inputs to establish an academic and policy program at the University of the Philippines.

It will also help inform private sector business strategies in ways that support sustainable economic development.

For his part, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the Philippine Development Plan Midterm Update 2011-2016 emphasizes the need for sustainable, reliable, and efficient use of energy resources, as well as the development of environment-friendly energy technologies.

“The EPDP can provide invaluable guidance to stakeholders in the energy sector and policymakers in government in the crucial years ahead,” he said.

Key to advancing the EPDP’s research agenda, the program will assist the University of the Philippines School of Economics to develop institutional linkages with US universities and institutions with expertise in the energy sector.

These include the University of Hawaii, Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, International Food Policy Research Institute, and University of California Energy Institute.

EPDP builds upon a long history of partnership between the United States and the Philippines, which was solidified under the bilateral Partnership for Growth (PFG).

“The US Government, through USAID, will continue to support the Government of the Philippines’ efforts to reduce the high cost of electricity and promote access to affordable power,” said USAID mission director Gloria Steele.

Under the PFG, both governments are addressing the most serious constraints to inclusive growth in the Philippines. EPDP contributes to this by fostering a more competitive business environment for the country through sustained and affordable energy supplies.

EPDP contributes to this by fostering a more competitive business environment for the country through sustained and affordable energy supplies.

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