[Press Release] Groups exclaim ‘Emergency power mean more coal power plants!’ -PMCJ

Groups exclaim ‘Emergency power mean more coal power plants!’

Resist coal Reenergize all photo by PMCJ

“The President does not need the emergency power he seeks!” says Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ). “That is why we are taking to the streets to register our resistance against coal and emergency powers. This is the message of the National Day of Action (NDA) against Coal – our contribution to Reclaim Power, the global call to ban dirty energy projects which greatly contribute to climate change.”

“This year’s action is wider in spread and deeper in depth compared to last year’s NDA against Coal here in the Philippines – with 23 sites joining us this year compared to the 15 sites in 2013.” Arances added.

In NCR, the climate activists walked from Plaza Miranda to Mendiola carrying a giant effigy of a Janus-Face monster the half-part of which was PNoy’s and the other half was that of DOE Sec. Petilla’s. This is to convey their stand that the PNoy administration is only using the contrived threat of a so-power crisis as a justification to run through their corporate-government-sponsored coal avalanche.

Under the current administration, coal projects saw a great increase. From an existing 17 coal-fired power plants will be an additional 26 coal plant projects which are expected to be online by 2020. Also, from 2007 to August 2013, the total Coal Operating Contracts (COCs) awarded by the National Government almost doubled – from 39 COCs to 71 COCs. With 15 other areas still up for offer.

Atty. Jose Aaron Pedrosa, Secretary-General of SANLAKAS and Head of the PMCJ Energy Working Group says, “The grant of emergency powers will ensure that any legal challenge against proposed coal-fired power plants will be effortlessly warded off thus ultimately guaranteeing that the spadework for their construction will be unhampered and unchallenged. All these intramurals on the grant of emergency powers overshadow the real power crisis that has beset the sector for more than a decade now.”
To date, 2.7 million households remain without access to electricity and the country’s power rates are the most expensive in Asia and rank fifth in the world.

“Market manipulation and collusion are at its worst with prices being manipulated in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), defying a cornerstone promise of EPIRA – of providing affordable and reliable electricity to the people. More than 13 years after EPIRA was passed, five families control the power industry. This is the real power crisis,” stresses James Matthew Miraflor, Vice President of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)

“A glaring example of the real power crisis is Mindanao,” says Clint Pacana, Executive Director of the Association of Rural Mindanao Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AMRECO). “The region’s grid has been suffering from an ‘undergeneration’ since 2010. Yet, for four years, the government has not been able to address the daily power interruptions which stretch from 6 to 8 hours in parts of the region.

“The real solution to this power crisis is a transition towards cheap, clean and indigenous renewable energy systems that are people-controlled and are suitable to the potential and needs of the community. In Mindanao alone, the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi power plant could provide an additional capacity of up 350MW. Furthermore, river systems in the region could be tapped into by setting up of microhydropower plant systems which could harness a potential of up to 1000MW.” adds Pacana.

From Bataan to Saranggani, climate activists staged simultaneous actions.

In Antique, home of the biggest coal mining site in the country, there were three events. Members of the Sabang Poocan Farmers and Fishers Association (SAPOFFA) marched to the Semirara sub-municipal office to request the mayor’s commitment in preventing the expansion of the coal mining operations in the island. Isalba ang Caluya (ISACA) members led a fluvial parade to call upon the local government to disallow the coal mining expansion in Caluya Island. In the main island of Antique, residents from both islands whose lands are threatened by the possible coal mining expansion marched to the DENR office to file their application for land ownership.

In Puerto Princesa City, the Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy (PACE) members along with other environmental activists paid tribute to their ally, Ed Garcellano who was buried today. The advocate’s last wish was to have a tarpaulin bearing the message NO TO COAL IN PALAWAN be placed on top of his coffin as an expression of his conviction. Atty. Gerthie Mayo-Anda, lead convenor of PACE said, “His conviction is indeed worthy of emulation and should inspire every Filipino to support advocacy efforts to resist coal and fight for climate justice!”

“Let this current situation be an opportunity for the Filipino nation to stir the country around and finally thread the path towards a clean, safe and renewable energy power system for the people and communities.” Arances concluded.

PRESS RELEASE
Contact persons:
Kathryn Leuch|0936 9678 341|leuch.kat@gmail.com
Valentin de Guzman|0919 9657 509|valentinodeguzman45@gmail.com
(Do not hesitate to contact us for pictures from the different sites of actions. You may also check our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/climatejusticePH)

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