Gov't prepares maiden green bond issue

Published November 19, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The government is finalizing its sustainable finance framework for the issuance of the Philippines’ first-ever sovereign green bonds, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said on Friday, Nov. 19, that the establishment of the framework is a key step in mobilizing funds for capital-intensive climate adaptation and mitigation projects in the face of worsening global warming.

Dominguez said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has long prepared the country’s capital markets for the demand in green investments, having released numerous guidelines on the issuance of Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds.

Through its private sector, the Philippines is ahead among its ASEAN peers in accessing climate finance, said Dominguez, the chairman-designate of the Climate Change Commission (CCC).

Philippine companies have issued $4.8 billion worth of ASEAN-labelled GSS bonds since 2019. This amount, which is equivalent to 29 percent of the current total of ASEAN-labelled GSS Bond issuances, is the highest in the region.

In preparation for its maiden green bonds offering and the mainstreaming of climate change in the financial sector, the Philippines launched on Oct. 20 its Sustainable Finance Roadmap to serve as the country’s masterplan.

Dominguez said the Roadmap incorporates the Philippines’ whole-of-nation approach to harnessing finance in support of the country’s transition to a clean, sustainable and climate-resilient economy.

“We are at the threshold of a new climate-conscious age. All the old practices that put the planet under the peril it is in now must yield to new mitigating practices. This transition will be comprehensive and most promising,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said three crucial elements of what he called the “blended approach” to climate finance.

They include grants for capacity building, investments for green projects, and subsidies for the financial costs and risks of communities transitioning to a climate-resilient economy.

“We are also in the process of completing our sustainable finance framework for the issuance of our first-ever sovereign green bonds,” Dominguez said.

The Philippines earlier affirmed its position that developed countries that are responsible for most of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must bear the largest financial burden in the transition to carbon neutrality of developing countries.

“This is the essence of climate justice that the most vulnerable countries have long been fighting for. The Philippines, however, will not wait for the Western nations to get their act together. We are moving ahead with the implementation of actual projects on the ground to enable us to meet our commitments,” Dominguez said.