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PIA Press Release
2007/09/26

PGMA's speech: Leyte optimization handover ceremony

PNOC-EDC Gym, Milagro, Ormoc City, September 25

Daghan salamat Cong. Codilla ug congratulations ni inyong gwapo kaayong mga proyekto sa geothermal. Chairman Pit Aquino, President Paul Aquino, but they are not related to each other. Mr. Chores, our fellow guests, Cong. Romualdez, Gov. Damian Mercado of Southern Leyte, Acting Gov. Bagulaya who is not a fellow guest but a fellow host.

Ang atong fellow host sab Mayor Codilla sa Ormoc ug Mayor sa Kananga nga usa nga beneficiary sa mga royalties diri. Members of my party, Sec. Ebdane and Sec. Favila and Presidential Assistant Vic Domingo. Sa mga local government executives, mga board members sa mga PNOC companies, mga higala, mga guests, ladies and gentlemen maayong buntag kaninyong tanan ug congratulations sa tanan.

Nagpapasalamat sab ako karon sa mga Leytenos sa inyong pagkamahatagon kay ang inyong geothermal resources gi-share man sa tibook nasud. An Leyte Ormat Company Ltd. which built and operated and is now turning over the four optimization plants with total capacity of 51 megawatts for many years of bringing clean energy to the Filipino people.

Gahalipay kita sa atong nasud kay naa kita ang labing dakong steam fields sa kalibutan. Mayor Codilla said that this is the largest in Asia but if you talk of wet fields, Paul Aquino said that this is the largest in the whole world, ining Leyte Geothermal field.

Kining atong seremonya nahitabo panahona kono sa, it comes in time when we are developing and promoting our Green Philippines agenda which puts an emphasis on sustainable economic model that brings economic opportunity and the concern for our environment.

Our economy has reached a new level of maturity and stability with some of the strongest macroeconomic fundamentals in 20 years. We have aimed high and have met the challenge. Six years ago, no one thought they could get more revenues, cut down on tax cheats, strengthen the peso and move the stock market and no one though we could bring our budget into balance as we did last month, prepay our debts and raise employment that we have.

Today, the Philippines is on a path to permanent economic growth and stability. Investments are pouring in, the peso is strong, our stock market has reached its tallest heights, we have created six million jobs in six years and the world is taking notice.

We believe the Philippine offers one of the best values in asia for domestic and foreign investors. The surge of investments have been anchored over many industries. For instance, by the billion dollar investments in our country of several multi-million international companies including Texas instruments in electronics, Korea's (hand jen) in shipbuilding, Japan's (Marubini) and Tokyo electric in electric power and America's AAS which recently won the bid for the Masinloc Power Plants for $950-M and will expand it by another US$1-B as soon as they get clearance from the Philippine (Recarnation) Authority.

These heavy investments are coming across the board in a number of industries and we are making it sure this will be sustained. And we are committed to consolidate in the gains in new revenue by making long overdue investments by making long overdue investments in human and physical infrastructure.

These includes billions of pesos in education, healthcare and training. Along with billions in new bridges, roads and ports to upgrade the competitiveness of the Philippines. We take great pride in the discipline of our administration to focus on the economy and our overall economic health. We're proud of the fact that the external debt is being prepaid at the rapid clip, optimistic that we will balance the budget in the year 2008 - two years ahead of schedule - and that we are making sure to use the gains to invest in vital social and economic needs.

Oversubscribe kani adtong Disyembre ang PNOC-EDC-IPO ug gang follow-through offering kaniadtong Hulyo. And PNOC-EDC usa sa maayong pruweba nga viable ang atong privatization policy. Privatization with a power generation and supply sector remains a top priority. It hasn't been happening in fact enough for me but now I'm glad for making progress. Reform of our power supply is essential for our long-term health. We will not be able to take the economy to the next step without it. We are still progress on this front this year.

We're always concerned about prices that consumers and industrial alike pay. We want them much lower. These, while we're eager to move along the privatization of NAPOCOR who shall free the government of it's subsidy and allow us to make more investments in other infrastructure areas.

We offer excellent opportunities in a range of sectors for investment particularly mining, technology, various forms of tourism including medical and eco-tourism, infrastructure, business process outsourcing and biofuels and energy. In addition, we deeply believe that we must both sustain our natural environment and grow our economy at the same time. We are developing and proposing our Green Philippines agenda which puts an emphasis on a sustainable economic model but basic economic opportunity and the concern for our environment. We have good working relationships with some of the world's leading environmental organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and others who help us truly make the Green Philippines a reality.

We are so proud of our Green Philippines initiative to create a sustainable economic model that allow us for growth, job creation and environmental stewardship. Too many nations, developing and developed, believe me, the environment was sacrificed and altered due to economic growth. We believe otherwise. We believe that we have a unique opportunity to get it right from day 1 to introduce new industries that are clean and profitable. These ranges from sustainable furniture to ecotourism of course there many, many opportunities here.

Codilla was telling me about Lake Danao for example. And to developing a biofuels and geothermal industry that helps our energy independence, create jobs and keeps our nation clean for future generations.

Nalipay ko, natagan pud han royalty gikan sa inyong geothermal fields, an mga local governments. And the local governments are able to use their royalties to subsidize the constituents' electric bills, busa ang gibayad sa mga constituents diri sa ilang kuryente mas ubos kumpara sa gibayad sa ubang lugar nga walay kaugalingong energy source.

So geothermal plants need not only transform steam to power, they can also be harnessed to channel steams to jobs. And earlier, Mayor Codilla when he spoke said, unta I can bring over that gwapong investors here. There is a way to do it. We can do this by convincing investors to take advantage of cheap power in the communities hosting geothermal plants. Cheap power by itself coming from your subsidies of electric bills is already a powerful draw that we will make it more irresistible by throwing it other fiscal incentives which an ecozone, if allowed to grant.

Thus, if we build these ecozones, the investors will come. The synergy of geothermal power and ecozones will power up progress. Busag gi pirmahan ko and usa ka Executive Order nga instructing LGUs nga mapatindog ug economic zones sa mga lugar nga duol sa pito ka geothermal sites sa PNOC-EDC apil na ni. We call these program GIGA for Generating Investments in Geothermal Areas. The acronym GIGA connotes big -- gigabytes which describes our geothermal fields the biggest wet fields in the world as well as the potential in incubating businesses near them. What should lure investors to set up geothermal plants is the same reason that let government and the private sector such as the Leyte Optimization Investors, to put in billions to build them, the availability of cheap and clean energy. And if I said it would be cheap because in these areas, local governments have lots bank accounts from project royalties that they use to subsidize the electric bills of their constituents.

Nagasiring naman sining akong Exceutive Order nga ang Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Undersecretary Peter Favila kung amo mao ang maggiya kaninyo nga unsa makaestablish sa mga economic zones. So, to borrow the ending of Paul Aquino, I will also use the same ending. TO THE HOST COMMUNITIES, I URGE YOU, FULL STEAM AHEAD. Congratulations! Daghang salamat sa inyong tanan. (PIA) [top]

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