22 JULY 2012
An open letter to the President
We who come from many parts of the country including Bataan, Batangas, Davao, Gen San, Iloilo, Misamis Oriental, Negros, Subic-Olongapo, Zamboanga will bear the brunt of your government’s decision to erect coal power plants in our communities despite the already well-documented and insidious impacts of such facilities on the local environment and the global climate.
On the occasion of your third State of the Nation Address as the country’s President, we, your bosses, wish to remind you of the commitment you made when you ran for office in 2010, specifically to phase out coal-fired power plants in the country and “shift towards clean, green technologies and energy sources.”
When you assumed the presidency, many of us were encouraged by your promise to fully implement the Renewable Energy Act. Indeed, we were hopeful that your leadership would usher in a real transformation towards a clean, energy future. Early into your term, the Department of Energy launched the National Renewable Energy Plan, supposedly the country’s roadmap to mainstream renewable energy, which in your own words shall “fuel our movement towards the rebuilding of this nation.”
Three years into your presidency, however, the commitments you made on the renewable energy front have barely seen the light of day. Instead of realizing a surge of investments in clean, renewable energy as envisioned in the law, we have seen a resurgence of dirty, coal power plant proposals.
Under the direction of Secretary Jose Almendras, the Department of Energy has approved an unprecedented number of coal projects, at least 11 nationwide, with a combined output of 4,385 MW far exceeding the aggregate number of coal projects approved by previous administrations. While it was busy laying down the red carpet for coal, the DOE also effectively stranded the full implementation of the RE law, allowing the approval of feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates for renewable energy to drag on.
As a consequence, the Philippines’ vast RE potential of about 261,000 MW remains untapped, with investors now opting to move to other markets in the region, having been locked out by coal projects in the pipeline. For our communities who will end up hosting these plants, this means living under the shadow of life-threatening toxic emissions, destroyed livelihoods, greater water scarcity, and conflicts. For Filipinos in general, this also means greater energy insecurity and higher electricity costs in the long term given the ever-increasing price of finite coal and fossil fuel supplies globally.
Mr. President, the legacy of good government that you wish to leave behind is being tainted by the enduring pollution associated with your administration’s obvious bias for coal power. Would you rather be remembered as the President who ushered in a truly transformational Energy Revolution for the country, or the President who extinguished the promise of a clean, renewable energy future for the country? For the remainder of your term, we implore you to make the right choices now for the sake of current and future generations of Filipinos.
Read article source in Manila Standard Today