Prexy’s bets offer plans for renewable energy, water supply

The Angat River, fed by the Sierra Madre watersheds and the Umiray River within the Aurora and Quezon province boundaries, is the source of electricity and water for Metro Manila. (File Photo by TONETTE T. OREJAS/Inquirer Central Luzon)

MANILA, Philippines — Six presidential candidates on Sunday presented their plans for renewable energy sources and water supply during the second debate organized by the Elections Committee.

Asked about the energy sources, union leader Leody de Guzman, vice president Leni Robredo and former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

“There should be a strong decision that would allow us to remove or drop coal-fired power plants, especially because they are the dirtiest sources of energy. Let’s phase out fossil fuels and accelerate the shift to renewables,” De Guzman said in Filipino.

“We Filipinos should make a high contribution to combating climate change in our country, and the government should initiate funding for renewable energy,” he added.

Planning comes first for Robredo.

“The first thing we should do is set the roadmap. What are our target milestones every few years? For our target to go there,” she said.

“Let’s deal with service contracts. Let’s take care of renewable energy sources. We already know we are on our way. So we have to invest,” she added.

Abella reiterated his focus on developing agriculture to solve the problem.

“The flagship project of my administration is to make agriculture a mega-industry in which we integrate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies,” he said.

He also urged young people to participate in environmental protection.

Sufficient water supply

Three other presidential candidates were asked about the water supply – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales and Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

“My people, I will ensure that this watershed is protected if we can rebuild it and improve it for effective use in a two-pronged approach. [approach] Again: you have water for irrigation and you have water for energy. Then I will invest in that,” Moreno said.

“In my view, national planning is needed,” Gonzales said. “Let us plant where there is water, and the water that we can get from it we will divert to the houses.

Lacson raised the need to invest in research and development.

“Why don’t we invest a much larger share of our national budget in research and development? In this way, we can collect rainwater and benefit from it, not only for the irrigation of our agriculture but also for the daily needs of our compatriots,” he said.

During the rebuttal portion, Senator Manny Pacquiao emphasized the need for a Department of Water.

“The point here is that there is a need to have a regulator when it comes to water. This is why we need a Ministry of Water,” he said.

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