PH not ready for carbon tax enforcement – Cusi

Published March 11, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Despite the dominance of coal plants in the country’s energy mix, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi forthrightly stated that the Philippines is not ready for ‘carbon tax enforcement’ because such policy could worsen the travails of consumers on high cost of power that they are already shouldering in their bills.

“Up to this moment, we still want to build capacity, so carbon tax for us at this moment, is not – we’re not just ready for that,” the Philippine energy chief has stipulated during the Asia Pacific Energy Week hosted by Siemens Energy.

He narrated that when he assumed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) helm in 2016, some parts of the country were in capacity shortfall, hence, the immediate policy steps needed then were anchored on enticing investments for capacity additions – and coal technology still proved to be the off-the-shelf solution for the country’s energy dilemma at the time.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source:
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source:

Cusi thus noted that such was the reason for the technology-neutral approach that the Duterte administration has advanced on the power capacity build-up; that in turn, led to the massive installations of coal plants in the country.

“At that time in 2016-2017, we were saying that I will source power from any source, regardless, so we adopted a technology neutral policy,” the energy chief stressed.

But that ought to change, according to the DOE secretary, as the Philippines joins the world in pursuing ‘energy transition goals’ that will ensure next round of investments leaning on renewable installations, as well as other clean energy solutions, such as nuclear, hydrogen and other innovative technologies.

Nevertheless, Cusi emphasized that the country’s foray into cleaner energy technologies had not been rooted on iniquitous steps taken on its power mix.

Rather, he considers the Philippines a ‘victim’ in the bigger core of the global warming dilemma, given the gigantic scale of greenhouse gases that industrialized countries had actually spewed into the atmosphere.

“We are victim. I’ve been saying that Philippines is a victim of climate change; and what I’m asking is climate justice,” Cusi stressed.

Taking off from the predicament it is in right now, the energy secretary noted that the Philippines will need all the support that will arm it to successfully brace transformative phase in its energy sector.

“We need support so that we can transition properly. Now, burdening our generation with carbon tax will make again the Philippines uncompetitive, so we’re not ready for carbon tax,” he reiterated.