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Advocates to Japan PM: Biodiversity hotspot VIP is not for gas development

Protect VIP, a coalition advocating for the protection of the Verde Island Passage (VIP), urged Japanese Prime Minister Kishida to cease fossil fuel financing in the Philippines, following the Trilateral Leaders’ Summit of the Philippines, Japan, and the United States last Wednesday.

Japan is one of the world’s top providers of public finance for gas, spending $4.3 billion on average each year. Its state-funded bank, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), is currently under investigation for its failure to monitor environmental compliance on its investment in Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Company’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in the VIP. Father Edwin Gariguez, lead convenor of Protect VIP, lamented Japan’s support for fossil gas development in the VIP.

“It is disheartening to witness that a country like Japan, which has the means to forward energy transition, is instead choosing to obstruct it. Japan is one of the top fossil fuel financiers in the world, and our country is on the receiving end of that. Japan’s state-owned JBIC uses public money to finance destruction in the biodiversity hotspot Verde Island Passage. The VIP is for marine biodiversity and livelihood of coastal communities – it is not for gas development,” said Gariguez.

Gariguez also questioned President Marcos’ genuine commitment to progressing to renewables as mentioned in his second State of the Nation Address.

“President Marcos himself announced that “renewable energy is the way forward.” This trilateral meeting with one of the biggest expansionist nations in the world is an opportune moment for him to stand his ground by condemning Japan’s gas projects in the country. We challenge President Marcos to prove his sincerity toward the clean energy transition and abandon fossil fuels,” Gariguez added.

Gerry Arances, executive director of Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), also harped on President Marcos’ support for Japan’s gas financing in the country.

“Japan’s dirty energy agenda will leave Filipinos dependent on imported fossil fuels that will not only keep our electricity prices soaring but also instill irrevocable damage to the environment. It is such a shame for President Marcos to allow his climate-vulnerable country to be a site for gas proliferation. We urge our world leaders to unlock the Philippines’ potential for renewables instead of clinging to false solutions like gas,” said Arances.

Arances also cited Japan’s capacity to fund renewables and urged JBIC to follow.

“Our country has immense renewable energy potential, and with Japanese banks already acquainted with investing $2 billion annually for clean energy, funding gas projects in the Philippines should no longer be the answer. We urge Japan government-funded JBIC to follow and cease fossil fuel financing in the VIP,” Arances added.

Gariguez challenged Japan to lead the energy transition and move away from destroying the environment.

“Japan has the ability to contribute, if not lead, our global transition towards sustainable energy solutions. Prime Minister Kishida should reassess if they really want to leave a legacy of obstructing clean energy transition and destroying the Amazon of the oceans,” Gariguez concluded.



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