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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Envoy says ‘123’ deal kickstarts nuclear plan

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Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez on Tuesday said the “123” agreement will kickstart the Philippines’ nuclear energy program and set the tone for how quickly the country could access related technology.

The Philippines and the United States last week signed the “123” deal that would facilitate cooperation between both countries on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

“That’s the most important alternative energy that we’re looking at because once we have that going, we can put that all over the Philippines and energy costs will start going down,” Romualdez said.

The agreement will allow both countries to work together and use nuclear technologies to ensure that the Philippines has a sustainable and clean energy supply. It also provides the legal basis for the US to export nuclear technology to the Philippines for peaceful uses.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. witnessed the signing of the agreement by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla and US State Secretary Antony Blinken at the sidelines of the APEC Summit in San Francisco.

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The deal commits the Philippines to safeguards against the use of transferred nuclear material to produce nuclear weapons. Known as “123” agreements under the US Atomic Energy Act, the pacts are critical for investment by US nuclear companies, which are wary of running afoul of laws related to proliferation

“This involves big investment in the beginning, but the return is absolutely wonderful,” Romualdez stressed.

The Filipino ambassador also said President Marcos tapped Frederick Go, his adviser on investments and economic affairs, to “precisely monitor” the investment pledges to the Philippines.

Go will be “in charge of looking at all these investments that are supposed to be coming into the Philippines,” Romualdez said.

Mr. Marcos instructed the Department of Trade and Industry to come out with a “scorecard” to monitor the investment pledges, the ambassador said.

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