Philippines invites Saudi partnerships in halal industry, renewables

MANILA: The Philippines says it is open to expanding partnerships with Saudi Arabia in its top priority sectors, including renewable energy and the halal industry.

The use of renewable energy was announced as the main issue in the country’s climate agenda during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first state of the nation address in 2022.

Renewable energy contributes about 30 percent to the Philippines’ energy mix, which is dominated by coal and oil. The government seeks to increase it to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040, and make renewables more accessible to the public.

“Given the Kingdom’s role in the supply of conventional and renewable energy, the Philippines is open to possible partnerships in the field of renewables,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo told Arab News this week.

An agreement to enhance cooperation in the field was reached in October, during President Ferdinand Marcos’ visit to the Kingdom at the invitation of Saudi Crown Mohammed bin Salman.

A business delegation accompanying the president signed investment agreements collectively worth more than $4.26 billion with Saudi business leaders.

“With Saudi Arabia’s role as a regional business and political hub, we wish to increase investments,” Manalo said.

“Further, amidst the region’s changing landscape and economic diversification initiatives, we aspire to expand our partnership in the fields of agriculture, tourism and the halal industry.”

In January, the predominantly Catholic Philippines — where Muslims constitute about 10 percent of the almost 120 million population — launched its Halal Industry Development Strategic Plan to tap into the global halal market, which is estimated to be worth more than $7 trillion.

The plan aims to double the industry’s output in the next four years, create 120,000 new jobs and attract $4 billion in investments by 2028.

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