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Trades, envi advocates slam dirty, costly coal during Earth Day rally

Consumer and environment groups part of the Malinis at Murang Kuryente (MMK) Campaign mobilized in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) this Earth Day, condemning the department for its continuous issuance of environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for dirty, destructive projects, especially coal-fired powerplants.

“We are gathered here to bring light to the role being played by the same Department mandated to protect and care for the environment and the people in the destruction of our natural resources and health,” said Erwin Puhawan of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

“While coal-fired power plants are being abandoned and retired across the globe, never has it been easier to get them approved here in the Philippines through the Executive Order 30 issued by the President,” Puhawan continued. “This gives energy companies a shortened process for the approval of their requirements, including the ECCs issued by the DENR,” said Puhawan.

Launched this April, the MMK Campaign encouraged policymakers, candidates, banks, and energy companies to divest from coal, given its effects on the environment and the cost of electricity. “Coal plants and other fossil-fuel power sources; as well as large hydrodams and other resource-intensive development projects, have burdened Filipinos – most especially the Poor – with a devastated environment and a depleted source for sustenance and survival,” said Father Edu Gariguez of the CBCP-NASSA (National Secretariat for Social Action).

“Right now, we are experiencing an El Nino phenomenon intensified by manmade global warming. If our current tribulations do not lead to an eventual paradigm shift as regards our relationship with nature, then it will lead to our collective demise as a species,” Said Fr. Gariguez.

The mobilization is part of a nationally coordinated action by members of the MMK, which includes a historic human chain in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. “Our government officials must celebrate Earth Day with sincerity and start doing right for the planet,” said Diocese of San Carlos Bishop Gerry Alminaza. “This is certainly true here in San Carlos, where we are faced by a proposed coal-fired power plant to be constructed by the San Miguel Corporation,” he continued.

“We urge citizens not to vote for politicians who are pro-coal, pro-mining, pro-reclamation, pro-quarrying, pro-logging and environmental criminals. They will just sell your towns and cities in the name of development,” Bishop Alminaza continued. (PR)

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