By Tomasita Asequia
and Adelfa Lachica
ILIGAN City––Environmental advocates under the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and Coal Resistance Movement, and group Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits here decried on Monday the Aquino administration’s insistence in supporting coal-fired power plant investments.
Carrying a wide banner with the words, “Coal-fired plants are not the solution, but the problem,” the protesters marched around the city as President Aquino was delivering his final State-of-the-Nation Address.
In a statement, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and Coal Resistance Movement, main organizers of Climate Walk, urged the host local governments “to stop and reject the projects.”
The groups said ordinary people who would directly bear the expected negative impact of the plants’ operations were “not substantially consulted,” leading them to suspect that “there must be something fishy (in these projects) that they have to hide these from the public.”
“Excluding the people in deciding about these projects, which could redraw their lives and that of their communities, is tantamount to robbing them of the right to a healthy environment,” said Antiqueza executive director of non-government group Gitib Inc.
The planned power generation facilities in ILigan City will have a 20-megawatt capacity. That in Kauswagan, owned by Ayala-affiliated GN power is a 540-mw facility, while that in Ozamiz, owned by Ozamis Power Generation Inc. is 300 mw. When completed, the Kauswagan project will be Mindanao’s largest coal-fired power plant.
These three power plants are the largest in a wave of large-scale, coal-fueled capacities planned to be built in Mindanao. Similar projects are also under way in Davao City and in Sarangani Province.
Panguil Bay is shared by Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental. Both also shared Iligan Bay with some parts of Misamis Oriental.
The group has launched the signature campaign against coal-fired plant which they hoped to present to Malacanang soonest which they said “would concretize our unyielding stand against coal investment and coal projects.