Press Release
September 1, 2016

Welcome Statement of Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III
The Philippine Solar Summit and Exhibition 2016
SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City
September 1, 2016

Ms. Tetchi Capellan, President of the Philippine Solar Power Alliance; Mr. Florian Gottein, the Executive Director of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; and to all the participants, exhibitors, and guests of this Solar Summit 2016, my fellow Filipinos, a warm and energetic good morning to all of you.

Thank you for inviting me to this affair.

I wouldn't miss this for the Sun. When I was in first year high school at the Ateneo de Manila University, I had a solar powered alarm as my science project. So, 39 years ago I already foresaw the potential of solar energy and actually put it to practical use. The technology I used back then was a photovoltaic cell, if I remember correctly. I am sure the technology in solar power has changed tremendously over the years.

Welcome to a new, bold, and daring Philippines! We have a new and unconventional President, who won on the program of government for Change. Fortunately, assisting the President are his political lieutenants and supporters, who, like him, are willing, ready, and able to think outside of the box to pursue new solutions to the age-old problems of Philippine society.

Because of this willingness to pursue new solutions, we are now courageously going to tackle quality of life issues for all Filipinos.

One factor contributing immensely to a high or desirable quality of life is the availability of power and its cost, both to the consumer and to the environment.

After President Rodrigo Duterte successfully addresses our Law and Order issues, we expect the Philippine economy to take off in a trajectory never seen before. That is the Change that is coming.

We want as part of that Change an economy which is powered by clean, affordable, and reliable sources of energy. We want our countrymen and future generations to enjoy modern conveniences without sacrificing the purity of our environment.

Hence, our willingness to search for alternatives to fossil fuel.

One alternative is solar power. It is renewable. It is "limitless". It is environment-friendly. The peak hours of energy consumption in the Philippines are also the hours when the sun is up. Hence, the arrival of solar power technology in the Philippines is indeed a blessing.

Solar power has so many positives, that it is a "consummation devoutly to be wished". And I say that from the heart.

It is a no-brainer therefore for policy makers to encourage the adoption of solar power technology. I understand that incentives have been given. But these must be constantly reviewed in order to determine if these are achieving the purposes for which they have been given.

The need for a clean environment must be balanced with the economic needs of our people. This is the balancing act that needs to be done.

Since I am a firm believer in renewable energy sources, I am volunteering to be that balancer.

Take advantage of my remaining years as a Senator and keep me informed of developments in your industry.

Inform me of the problems too. Are the incentives sufficient to spur investments in the field of solar power? Is the field too crowded already? Is the government pursuing a clear solar energy policy? And is that policy the right one?

As a firm believer in Science, I wish to express my hope that the Philippines will not only be a consumer of the solar power technologies of other countries, but that Filipinos should also be inventors and manufacturers of solar power technologies. Remember, we are also the land of the rising sun. It is a wonder to me why solar power technology was not invented here. But that is because of the lack of a science culture in our country. And that is the subject matter for another speech.

I therefore want to encourage all of you that when you undertake your corporate social responsibility projects, please devote resources to the development of a science culture here in our beloved country.

And whatever be the outcome of your summit, we will all be the beneficiaries. For we would have shown that Change is here. We now have open minds. Solar power is a reality. And we acknowledge that finding alternatives to fossil fuel is a necessity. We can only end up advancing the quality of life of all mankind.

Let us use our Kokote and welcome the Change that is coming, because we are that Change and we are going to make it happen!

Thank you Philippine Solar Power Alliance for being a Partner for Change.

Mabuhay at magandang umaga po sa lahat!

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