Groups ask Duterte to stop pursuing coal plant projects

VARIOUS environment groups have called on the national government to craft a policy that would phase out coal in the energy supply mix.

Ian Rivera, national coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), said yesterday in Davao People’s Energy and Climate Justice Forum at NCCC mall that those plants are the “main drivers of climate change.”

The national government, he said, should instead promote the establishment of renewable energy plants.

In the island grid, the Mindanao Development Authority reported that the fossil fuels, mostly coal, are projected to account 80% of the island’s total energy mix by 2018 from 50% in 2015. The agency is promoting on the establishment of renewable energy plants to maintain a 50-50 supply mix.

But President Rodrigo Duterte said earlier in a news report during the campaign period that there was nothing wrong on the establishment of new coal-fired power plants as these could help increase the supply in the country’s grid.

The president was also present last week in the inauguration of 405-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Filinvest Development Corp. and Misamis Power Corp. in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

Amid Duterte’s support on coal plants, Rivera said they are optimistic that the present administration will consider their petition.

“Our optimism is coming from a situation that the government is morally obligated to heed on our call due to the impacts of coal-fired power plants,” he said.

Part of their petition, Rivera said, is the need for moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants. The national government will also stop from approving permits on companies that wanted to set up additional coal-fired power plants, he added.

He said they were already able to submit their petition to the Department and Natural Resources on July 29 and sought for a meeting with the Department of Energy on August 1. “We are also in the process on discussing this in Malacañang,” he said.

Among the groups that joined in the forum yesterday include Sanlakas Youth, Power Alternative Agenda in Mindanao, Stand 4 Environment Act 4 Climate Justice, PMCJ, YCI and Rivers Our Life.

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