Sunday, September 9, 2012

PHL-Chile partnerships in mining, geothermal energy seen

The Philippines and Chile are eyeing “partnerships” in mining and geothermal energy, with both countries wishing to learn more about each other’s best practices in the two fields. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario said the topics were taken up in bilateral talks between President Benigno Aquino III and Chilean counterpart Sebastian Piñera. Aquino and Piñera met Saturday morning (Manila time) at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok in Russia. “We are also looking into the possibility of going into a geothermal partnership, the Philippines being No. 2 in geothermal in the world. Chile is very interested in learning from the Philippines and possibly having the Philippines invest in geothermal undertakings in Chile,” del Rosario said in a media briefing aired on government-run dzRB radio. Both leaders also discussed possible partnerships in other areas, such as taxation and mining. He added the Philippine side is suggesting a bilateral consultation between the two countries “so we can effectively create a road map to enhance our bilateral relations.” “We are suggesting a bilateral consultation be held between the two countries so we can effectively create road map to enhance our bilateral relations,” he added. Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said Piñera was “quite surprised” the geothermal plants in the Philippines are fully privatized. Almendras also said a chat with Chile’s foreign minister Alfredo Moreno Charme showed Chile was “quite impressed” with the private sector involvement in geothermal plants in the Philippines. “They were having difficulty doing that in Chile,” he said. He added Charme told him he will “instruct the ambassador of Chile to see me next week.” Responsible mining, taxation On the other hand, del Rosario said the Philippines is seeking to get the cooperation of Chile “in terms of improving our tax revenues and in curbing tax evasion.” He also said the Philippines has sought Chile’s cooperation as well in terms of Chile “being able to share with us” its best practices “in terms of responsible mining.” Bilateral consultation Del Rosario also said the Philippines has been invited to look into cooperation in aquaculture, and to send teachers who could teach English to Chile. “We’re also being invited to look into cooperation in aquaculture, and consider bringing in teachers who can teach English to a larger part of the population in Chile,” he said. Aquino invited to Chile During the meeting, del Rosario said Aquino and Piñera also expressed views there is “a lot of commonality between our two countries, a shared heritage.” He said Piñera invited Aquino to visit Chile as part of furthering bilateral relationships, adding Piñera had visited the Philippines thrice as a private sector person and he enjoyed his visit during the time. — TJD,