Today is: Tue, May 21, 2013
USAID: Batangas City to be ‘center of growth outside MM’
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the offcials of Batangas City to unleash the city’s full economic potential through the agency’s Cities Development Initiative (CDI).
USAID deputy administrator Donald Steinberg and USAID-Philippines mission director Gloria Steele signed the MoU with Batangas Mayor Vilma Dimacuha before Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Merly Cruz and other Batangas City officials and representatives from the private sector, the academe and civil society.
“This partnership aims to address key constraints to economic growth and investment in Batangas City. The CDI will unlock and maximize the city’s growth potential through significant collaboration in areas such as education, energy, environment, health systems and economic growth and investment,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg attended the Asian Development Banks’s 45th annual meeting of the Board of Governors. He was a panelists in the Development Partners session-Cooperation in a Changing World on May 5 where shared his insights on recent changes in the global-aid architecture and its implications for development cooperation in Asia.
Steele said the “CDI takes a unique and cross-cutting approach to promote inclusive growth. Together with Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro City, USAID has selected Batangas City to become a ‘center of growth’ because of its demonstrated economic potential.”
Identified as one of the urban growth centers in the Philippines, Batangas City has an international port and recently completed access roads that provide faster and more efficient routes for exploring and penetrating markets in nearby provinces and regions.
“The initiative is built on the premise that economic growth and job creation are closely linked to urban development, where cities act as engines of economic growth,” Steele said. “The CDI seeks to promote economic growth outside of Metro Manila to disperse economic opportunity in the Philippines as it moves from a low-growth path to a higher, sustained and more inclusive growth trajectory in line with other high-performing emerging economies.”
The CDI is an integral part of US-Philippines partnership for growth (PFG). Launched in November 2011 by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, the PFG is helping the Philippines achieve its high growth potential by creating a more transparent, predictable and consistent legal and regulatory regime, fostering a more open and competitive business environment, strengthening the rule of law and supporting fiscal stability.
“The PFG will be carried out in the spirit of mutual responsibility, embracing commitments by the Philippine government to take necessary actions to promote inclusive growth,” Steele said.
Meanwhile, a simple groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for the Maibarara Geothermal Plant, the country’s newest geothermal power station and the first one under the current Aquino Administration.
Department of Energy (DoE) Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr. and Sto. Tomas Mayor Renato Federico led the ceremony that signaled the start of the construction of the power plant owned by Maibarara Geothermal Inc. (MGI), a joint-venture of PetroGreen Energy Corp. (a subsidiary of PetroEnergy Resources Corp.), Trans-Asial Oil and Energy Development Corp. and government-owned Philippine National Oil Co.
The 20-MW Maibarara geothermal power project is an integrated steam field and power plant facility that is expected to be operational by late 2013. It is the country’s newest geothermal power plant after the 49-megawatt Northern Negros plant commissioned in 2007.
Design and construction of the steamfield pipelines are directly handled by MGI. The company secured a P2.40-billion loan facility in September 2011 from the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and the Bank of the Philippine Islands to fund the construction of the Maibarara project’s steamfield pipelines, the power station and transmission facilities.
Layug commended MGI for reaching another milestone with the groundbreaking, after earlier being cited as the first renewable energy (RE) project (out of the more than 250 RE service contracts awarded under the 2008 Renewable Energy Law) to be declared commercial.
Layug stated the ground breaking for the 20-MW Maibarara geothermal project demonstrates the Aquino administration’s focus and resolve in working with the private sector, local governments and other national agencies to ensure the stability of the country’s power supply and infrastructure.
He added that aside from meeting the Luzon Grid’s energy requirements, the Maibarara project will help generate jobs and increase tax revenues and government royalties to host communities and local government units.