Divorce proceedings are now underway between a recently married big-time investor and renewable energy startup that could be trivialized as excellent material for a telenovela, except that the success of the campaign for a fossil fuel-free Philippines is highly at stake.
Akin to a child custody battle, the proceedings are centered on a prized possession—control of a company that holds promise as the breakthrough needed to turn so-called green energy into the norm, rather than the exception, in the Philippine energy industry which is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels.
The investor has already dug deep into his pockets. But the marriage partner, the renewable energy startup, is failing to fulfill its marital and parental obligations, stunting the growth of their child, the largest RE and battery energy storage power project to ever emanate from renewable energy’s drawing board and the closest such a dream has come to turning into reality.
The divorce proceedings between big-time investor and RE startup have now escalated into which parent could best rear the child and which possesses the resources to nurture the child’s growth.
On the table are big-time investor’s billions and startup’s millions, mostly generated through the trust of other investors highly impressed by startup’s image as a pioneer.
It makes for a good telenovela series but the proceeding’s outcome would be far more serious in its impact on the dream to beat dirty fuel by harnessing nature.
PH underperforms in Europe
The Philippines appears to be underperforming in its trade relations with the European Union despite the upbeat mood of the economic bloc on the Southeast Asian nation.
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines is bullish on its prospects on the local economy and lavish on its praise for recent business reforms here. ECCP president Lars Wittig conceded that European companies were considering the Philippines as an investment destination given the improving economic fundamentals and the country’s open investment policy.
“This is following the enactment of economic reforms and the recent creation of a ‘green lane’ for strategic investments. Further, we have seen solid headway in facilitating ease of doing business particularly in terms of the ease of establishing reliable supply chain connection and structural factors as the country moves 17 spots, from 60th to 43rd place, in terms of logistics performance index as reported by the World Bank,” says the ECCP executive.
The Philippines, however, may botch the opportunity and lose potential European investments to its competitors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) block if Manila does not roll up its sleeves.
“Certainly, there is much opportunity for Europe and the Philippines to strengthen their economic ties, especially in line with their longstanding trade and investment relations. It is highly encouraged that the Philippines further leverages its status as the only ASEAN country beneficiary of the EU GSP+ trade preference. We equally look forward to further advancements in the EU-PH FTA discussions, which are crucial for the Philippines to become a magnet for European investments,” Wittig said.
The European executive referred to the proposed Philippines-EU Free Trade Agreement and the trade benefits the nation enjoys under the generalized system of preferences that completely removed all tariffs on 66 percent of all products in the EU’s official list. Such preferential treatment is given in the form of reduced or zero rates of customs duties, which the Philippines must exploit. The EU GSP+ arrangement is set to expire by the end of this year.
Another economic opportunity that the Philippines must pursue is the the formalization of the Philippines-EU Free Trade Agreement.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual knows fully well the importance of a free trade pact. A successful negotiation of the FTA would allow the Philippines to obtain additional duty-free market access beyond those covered by the EU GSP+ scheme, and serve as a incentive for attracting larger investments from the EU.
Pascual noted that an FTA with the EU will put the Philippines at par with other ASEAN countries that are aggressively pursuing similar agreements with the EU.