ILIGAN CITY — Around one thousand protesters representing the more than 500 communities that will be affected when the three coal fired power plants in Northwestern Mindanao operate will kick-off a six (6) day Climate Walk on July 19, 2015. The 92 kilometer walk will start at Jurassic Park, Maranding, Lala in Lanao del Norte and will end at Iligan City.
The climate walkers, coming from the two major organizers Coal Resistance Movement (CoRE) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) together with more than twenty (20) civil society organizations and communities demand for the cessation of the construction of coal fired power plants in Northwestern Mindanao Region. The past three years, the region has been threatened to host the three coal fired power plant. Lafarge Cement Corporation is applying to build a 20 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Kiwalan, Iligan City while the Ozamis Power Generation Incorporated (OGPI) is also proposing to build a 300 MW coal plant in Brgy. Pulot, Ozamiz City.
The biggest plant among the three is the one being constructed between Brgy. Tacub and Brgy. Libertad in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte which has a generation capacity of about 540 megawatts.
Resistance to coal fired power plant has been known worldwide due to its harmful impacts to people and environment. Ms. Lourdes Anabieza of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice in Western Mindanao says “The irreparable impacts and destruction caused by coal fired power plants have been well documented and scientifically researched globally. The United States Energy Information Agency (US EIA) in its studies mentions that the risk of getting cancer is 900 times higher from coal ash exposure compared to cigarette smo-king.” Ms. Anabieza further asserted that “the 35 kilometer death zone from where the coal fired power plant is located is scientifically proven and this will have consequences to small cities and towns like the town of Clarin in Misamis Occidental, town of Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte and the cities of Ozamiz, Tangub and Iligan. Even the neighboring and adjacent towns around these areas like Municipalities of Bonifacio and Tudela in Misamis Occidental, the towns of Lala, Baroy, Maigo, Bacolod, Linamon all in Lanao del Norte will not be spared.”
On the other hand, Roldan Gonzales, Executive Director of Gitib, Inc., one of the organizers of the Climate Walk laments that “Despite these consequen-ces and impacts, the PNOY Government and the concern LGUs are one with the profit hungry private energy companies in pushing for the proliferation of CFPPs. They are putting Minda-naoans at risk and what people should do is to oppose this dangerous scheme. Mr. Gonzales stresses “we don’t need these CFPPs. Aside from coal plants will exacerbates the global climate crisis, the Mindanao energy demand can be answered just by the full operation of Agus Pulangi Hydropower Complexes.” It has to be noted that based from the National Power Corporation data, the Agus Pulangi Hydro Power Complexes have been supplying more than 50% of the Mindanao energy needs. However, with the looming privatization plan, the complexes have been deteriorating.
The six – day climate walk will have whistle stops were LGU officials against the CFPPs are invited to support the event. A major program in Iligan City will cap the climate walk. PR