[Statement] ECCs for coal, blood on AQUINO’s hands -PMCJ

ECCs for coal, blood on AQUINO’s hands, groups say
Call for ECC Moratorium, Environmental and Social Audits Pushed

Photo by PMCJ

Photo by PMCJ

Just recently, the threat to humans lives of coal mining and coal power plants has proved its imminence. Another 10 workers have died due to the collapse of an open-pit coal mining of DMCI Holdings in Panian, Semirara Island, Caluya, Antique. Sotero Sabarre of SAPOFFA has witnessed firsthand how Semirara controls and threatens their employees who put their lives at the stake while Semirara reaps the benefits.

The recent tragedy has significantly increased the death toll caused by coal mining and coal power plants in the country. Aside from the mining mishaps in 2013 and 2015, there are also threats of demolition and displacement to communities that are targeted by mining corporations for possible constructions and expansions of coal power plants.

While the government, through its energy department, admits that coal is still the cheapest and easiest way to resolve the power generation problem in the country, its negative externalities to both human and environment cannot be denied.Many scientific studies have concluded that each step of the life cycle of the coal, from mining to disposal of post-combustion wastes, has profound effects on human health, livelihood, and the environment. Even with the existence of these facts and data, the current administration is months away from leaving a legacy of dirty energy.

100 members of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice trooped to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office in Quezon City to demand a moratorium on the issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) for coal projects in the country.

GerryArances, PMCJ National Coordinator, stresses that majority of the Filipinos do not want coal. Arances cites a study conducted by sociologist Dr. Fred Obligacion on perception on coal power plants. “The Government continues to prioritize the interests of a few corporations over the interests of thousands of Filipinos. Proof of this is the Department of Energy’s (DOE) approval of 27 coal plant projects operational by 2020 and is considering 15 additional proposed coal plants.”,Arances said.

“We are being told that coal will solve the energy crisis and that more coal power plants will prevent the impending blackouts. This is a rehash of last year’s blackout scare peddled by the Government in its bid for emergency powers. This mistruth is nothing more but a blackmail to wrestle the argument for coal projects at a time when public perception is against their proliferation,” Arances added.

Sanlakas Secretary General and PMCJ Energy Working Group Head Atty. Aaron Pedrosa addresses DENR and the public of the relevance of Republic Act 9513 or Renewable energy Law of 2008, which initially aimed at creating a cleaner and safer energy sector and veering the country away from fossil fuel dependence. “Instead of abandoning its addiction on coal, more coal plants are expected to go online as the Government embarks on an ECCs and Coal Operating Contracts (COCs)issuance spree in favor of coal projects. Demanding the government for a moratorium on the issuance of ECCs and COCs is demanding the fulfillment of its mandate to safeguard the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.”

“We hold the Aquino Government to account for its malfeasance in greenlighting coal projects and misfeasance for doing absolutely nothing to abate its disastrous effect on host communities. The recent Semirara tragedy is blood on Aquino’s hands.”, Pedrosa said.

Preliminary results of a study conducted by Hardvard University revealed that 1,673 premature deaths every year will result because of coal power plants here in the country. This will translate into 50,000 deaths in the next 50 years. This figure will continue to grow if more coal power plants will be approved in the coming years.

PMCJ demands immediate environmental and social audits on all coal mining sites and coal-fired power plants in the country. While the said audits are being conducted, a moratorium in the processing of all ECCs, permit applications and other necessary permits must be issued to prevent further and irreparable damage to the people and environment. The demand comes in the context of Aquino’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA). The group views this year’s SONA as Aquino’s last chance to put forward a policy direction that would end the country’s dependence on coal given its 5-year track record of promoting coal and inaction to the grievances of coal-affected communities.

——-

Coal Projects KILL!
Moratorium on ECCs Now!
Envi and Social Audit on Coal Projects!

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
July 22, 2015

Mr. Gerry Arances, PMCJ National Coordinator– 09328778578, gerry.arances@gmail.com
Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Sanlakas Secretary General – 09275924830

PRESS STATEMENT
JULY 22, 2015

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