By Joe Zaldarriaga

Leading the way

January 30, 2024, 9:38 am

With the dry season fast approaching and expected to be exacerbated by the ongoing El Niño, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has directed all government agencies – both at the national and local levels – to practice energy efficiency and conservation.

Through an administrative order, the President recently asked all government agencies to accelerate the implementation of the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP), given the compelling need to reduce the bureaucracy’s monthly electricity consumption to help prepare for the expected increase in power demand during the dry season.

Marcos’ latest directive is a welcome development since it complements the implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act. This early on, the government is already leading the way in the adoption of a sustainable energy lifestyle by setting a strong example to the rest of the country on how to utilize electricity effectively and efficiently.

From a holistic perspective, it is worth noting that the Philippines already has the necessary infrastructure and policies in place to charge forward towards a sustainable energy future. Aside from the government’s energy efficiency campaign, President Marcos’ administration is also actively pushing for renewable energy sources to help address the threat of climate change. With such policies in place, it won’t be a surprise that the country could soon become a model for sustainable energy practices.

But to drive greater energy efficiency, the active participation and cooperation of the public and private sectors are necessary both in implementing programs and raising further awareness of the importance of a sustainable energy lifestyle among Filipinos. The results of a recent survey of OCTA Research Group, for example, showed that electricity rates are among the least of the concerns of Filipinos, highlighting the importance of a more aggressive information campaign on the benefits of energy efficiency.

To engage more Filipinos in embracing energy efficiency and other sustainable energy practices, it behooves the private sector to actively complement the government’s efforts.

For example, highlighting the benefits of energy efficiency and its contributions to sustainable progress through savings, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and helping meet the growing energy demand, can help bolster the government’s campaign to encourage more Filipinos to embrace the lifestyle.

On the part of the government, the GEMP already sets a model on how offices can embrace energy efficiency since it has produced tangible results. In 2023 alone, the GEMP generated over PHP300 million in energy savings, which is equivalent to over 300 million kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption, the DOE said. If the implementation of the program is further accelerated, the DOE said the government could generate up to PHP2 billion in savings.

On the part of the private sector, energy industry players should lead the way in advocating for energy efficiency among their stakeholders and strictly implement the government’s programs.

With the continuous cooperation between the public and private sectors, it won’t be long before a sustainable energy lifestyle is institutionalized in every Filipino home and office. 

These vital initiatives – strict implementation of government programs, aggressive information campaigns, and strong support from the private sector – are pivotal in shaping a truly sustainable energy future that serves as a model for other countries to follow.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.