DUBBED as the fastest agreement signed on nuclear energy, the Philippines and the United States signed on Thursday (San Francisco time) an “Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”, or the so-called 123 Agreement.
“So, I believe congratulations are in order for the work of our respective negotiating teams, especially to the the teams from the United States *as I am only just been informed that this is the fastest 123 Agreement that the United has come to and for that, we are very grateful,” President Marcos said.
At the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting and related activities in San Francisco, California, President Marcos said that the 123 Agreement is the first “major step” in stepping up the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United State.
President Marcos added that the administration will be very glad in pursuing nuclear energy as part of the country’s energy mix by 2032 through the partnership forged with the American providers.
“We see nuclear energy becoming a part of the Philippine energy mix by 2032, and we would be more than happy to pursue this path with the United States as one of our partners,” President Marcos said in his remarks during the signing ceremony of the 123 Agreement.
“The signing of the Philippines-United States Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, or the 123 Agreement, is the first major step in this regard, taking our cooperation on capacity building further and actually opening the doors for U.S. companies to invest and participate in nuclear power projects in the country,” he added.
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed the 123 Agreement with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
President Marcos said that he is pleased to witness another milestone towards a more energy-secure and green Philippines as he recalled his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he laid out plans for ensuring an affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy supply in the Philippines.
Earlier, Philippines’ Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) signed a cooperation agreement with the Ultra Safe Nuclear Cooperation (USNC) of the US to undertake a Pre-Feasibility Study on Micro-Modular Reactors (MMRs) to explore clean and sustainable energy options in the Philippines.
President Marcos said that the agreements signed between the Philippines and the US only showed the strengthened ties between the two countries as he emphasized that it only showed the eagerness of the companies to advance discussions on potential projects.
With this, President Marcos said that he is looking forward to seeing the agreement in action.
The chief executive also emphasized that nuclear energy is one of the areas that showed the vibrant alliance and partnership between the Philippines and the US that is working for the people, economy and the environment.
In his message, Secretary Blinken thanked President Marcos and the Philippine government officials for the continued relations between the US and the Philippines and for the expanded partnership to meet the biggest challenges that the people are facing.
“Today, we take another step to do that. By deepening our cooperation to accelerate the transition to clean energy in the Philippines,” Blinken said, as he recognized President Marcos’ efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2030 and increasing the production of clean energy.
Blinken said that the effort aims to ensure that 50 percent of the energy source comes from renewable sources by 2040.
He added that the 123 Agreement is a testament that doing things between the Philippines and the US is a high priority for both countries.
For his part, Secretary Lotilla expressed his gratitude to President Marcos for his support and for the negotiating team for the successful conduct of the negotiations leading to the signing of the 123 Agreement.
“Under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the negotiation of the present agreement with the US was made possible … every step of the way, the agreement recognizes adherence to standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Secretary Lotilla said.
The Secretary added that the new agreement with the US “facilitates bilateral cooperation in a wide array of other peaceful uses of atomic energy” as he emphasized that it all supported various sustainable development goals including plant breeding, livestock production, and inspect pest control, among others.
Prior to this agreement, several exchanges of drafts and three rounds of bilateral consultations and negotiations took place between DOE Undersecretary Sharon Garin and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ann Ganzer in March 2023.
The respective interagency teams of the Philippines and the US completed the negotiations of the agreement on September 19, 2023.