VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte makes false claims on solar, wind energy

President Rodrigo Duterte, ranting about international oil prices, made two false claims about solar and wind energy use in the Philippines.


In a Jan. 23 speech, Duterte claimed the country does not use solar energy and only Ilocos Norte uses wind energy:

Ito, gawa ng langis. Maski electric. Bakit? Ang makinarya niyan gumagawa. Paano mo patakbuhin? Hangin? Walang solar. Walang wind power dito– eh Luzon, doon sa dulo ng Ilocos (That, it’s a product of oil. Even electricity. Why? Machines operate. How do you start them? Wind? There’s no solar. There’s no wind power here. [Only in] Luzon, at the far end of Ilocos).”

Source: PCOO, Speech during the Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association (TODA) summit, Jan. 23, 2019, watch from 45:15-45:34


Government data belie Duterte’s claims.

A Department of Energy (DOE) list shows the Philippines currently has 42 operational on-grid solar power plants as of June 30, 2018: 24 in Luzon, 13 in Visayas, and five in Mindanao.

Solar power plants have been in business in the country as early as 2004.

The country’s largest operating solar plant, the two-year-old Cadiz Solar Power Plant in Negros Occidental with a maximum capacity of 132.5-megawatts, is estimated to power up over 167,500 households, as reported by the Business Mirror, and SunStar Philippines.

DOE data also show three other provinces partially using wind energy besides Ilocos Norte: Rizal, Aklan and Guimaras.

The Renewable Energy Act of 2008 has made it state policy to develop sustainable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to “reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels” and “minimize the country’s exposure to price fluctuations in the international markets.”


Department of Energy, List of Power Plants as of June 30, 2018 (Luzon)

DOE, List of Power Plants as of June 30, 2018 (Visayas)

DOE, List of Power Plants as of June 30, 2018 (Mindanao)

DOE, List of Power Plants as of June 30, 2018 (Off-Grid)

BusinessMirror, Ecozone seen to rise beside 132.5-MW solar-generation facility in Cadiz City, March 4, 2016, Solar farm starts feeding Visayas grid 132MW of clean power, March 5, 2016

SunStar Philippines, Cadiz solar plant stirs investments, March 4, 2016

Official Gazette, Renewable Energy Act of 2008

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)