Manila, Philippines — The Philippines’ Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced that the country will declare a moratorium on building new coal-fired power plants in a speech during the Singapore International Energy Week.

The news comes amidst a recent wave of Asian leaders making ambitious announcements to align with the Paris Climate Agreement — from China’s President Xi Jinping, to Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

Chuck Baclagon, Asia Finance Campaigner issued the following statement:

“The Philippine government is finally realizing that the future is fossil free. We welcome the Department of Energy’s recent announcement of a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants and urge a just transition that takes into account the people’s rights and health.

As with any declaration, this moratorium must comprise robust action, ambitious planning and concrete execution. We challenge other Asian leaders to follow suit in charting the path towards low-carbon development and concrete climate action in the region.

The announcement is also a clear indication that coal is no longer the lowest costing or more reliable option, even before factoring in the costs of public health impacts, environmental damage, and other climate risks.

As we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a time to be decisive and bold in saving lives and pursuing a genuinely healthier and sustainable future. To achieve this, Asian governments and financial institutions must fundamentally shift their economic stimulus and investments towards building a new, more equitable low-carbon economy in the region.”