By Rey E. RequejoandMervin Vince Lopez | Manila Standard
Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Bjorn Jahnsen on Wednesday committed to President-Elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that Norway will help the incoming administration in the development of renewable energy sources.
After paying a courtesy visit to Marcos, Jahnsen said he discussed with the President-elect offshore wind energy that could provide job opportunities for Filipinos.
“Norway has made investments in the Philippines in renewable energy and more companies and more investments will come in the coming years—offshore wind, floating solar and also hydro. So that’s the plan for the future for Norway and the Philippines… really to increase our imprint on renewable energy in the country,” Jahnsen said.
“I mentioned to the President-elect that according to a study by the World Bank: A Roadmap on Offshore Wind for the Philippines, which we think, will be an important new sector in the country that presents great opportunities for the Philippines in the future,” he added.
According to him, the new sector could provide 50,000 “good-paying” jobs for Filipinos.
However, the envoy emphasized that this needs amendments in the Philippine government’s policies on foreign firms.
“That requires some adjustments and policies on the Filipino side. For instance, foreign companies should be able to own a majority of the equity in these types of investments as they often are investments with several billions of dollars and foreign investors would like to have a certainty of having a majority stake in their investment,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity for the Philippines for a plenty supply of energy. As you know, the country is growing in economy and energy consumption is increasing so offshore wind is really one of your best bets for the future,” Jahnsen said.
Aside from energy issues, Jahnsen said he and Marcos also discussed maritime issues. He added that Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl would dock in Manila in October of this year.
Two weeks before he formally assumes office, the president-elect received more members of the diplomatic community holding productive meetings with foreign dignitaries from different parts of the globe.
On Wednesday, the highlights of the round of courtesy calls included cooperation on climate change responses, renewable energy, and improving food production through agricultural developments, and education.
For his part, Juha Markus Pyykko, Ambassador of Finland, said he and the incoming President had a “very, very useful constructive fruitful meeting”.
They discussed issues like the economy, human rights, the situation in the Indo-Pacific region, climate change, digitalization, education, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, among others.
Aside from expressing gratitude for the contribution of the Filipino community in Finland to their society, the ambassador also proposed reviving bilateral dialogue on educational policies and digitalization, especially in education.
Dr. Titanilla Toth, Ambassador of Hungary, said she is looking forward to expanding the cooperation between Hungary and the Philippines in the field of agriculture, water technology, and education, adding they could provide more scholarships for Filipinos.
She added Hungary is also looking forward to opening more employment opportunities for skilled Filipino workers in the hospitality sector like hotels and also in factories.
Raduta Dana Matache, Ambassador of Romania, expressed great appreciation in her meeting with Marcos, adding that his warm reception of the diplomatic corps send a strong message that the Philippines is open to cooperation all over the world.
Matache said that with the Philippines and Romania are celebrating an important milestone this year – 50 years of having diplomatic relations, and that he and the President-elect discussed areas where cooperation could be further enhanced.
Bartinah Ntombizodwa Radebe-Netshitenzhe, Ambassador of South Africa, also had a courtesy call with Marcos on Wednesday.