Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC)

Non-government organizations (NGOs) for the environment here joined the international celebration of the "Earth Day" on Monday by drumbeating its campaign against the possibility of a coal-fired power plant in Palawan.

Appearing as guest in a local radio program on Monday, lawyer for the environment and staunch advocate Grizelda Mayo-Anda of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), said they will uphold this year’s "Earth Day" celebration by being “vigilant and on alert against the coal power plant that the DMCI Power Corporation (DPC) andthe Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) want to establish allegedly due to a looming power crisis."

“It’s not cool to be coal,” this is how environment NGOs in Puerto Princesa and Palawan labeled their campaign as they observe “the importance of conserving, protecting and restoring the integrity of God’s creation for sustainable development.”

“We are highlighting this year’s celebration of Earth Day by committing that we will be vigilant that coal power will not have a place here in the province. We have available resources here for renewable energy, why go for coal? Although we are not carbon emitters like other countries, the Philippines goal is to reduce carbonemission, and here in Palawan we want to allow coal?” Anda asked.

As she spoke, she said a group in Manila is preparing to do a rally in front of the Department of Energy (DOE) building to remind officials that the global goal is to reduce carbon emissions and not accepting energy projects like coal, “which is detrimental to both environment and human healths.”

Anda added that per research conducted by the Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy (PACE), there is no power crisis in Puerto Princesa and Palawan, only problems in power plants that are now employing decrepit facilities.

“Walang krisis o kulang na suplay ng kuryente (There is no crisis or lack of power supply), Anda stated, adding the city and province is “not in a desperate situation to choose dirty fuel.”

With Palawan rich in resources, the environment lawyer said the province has many to offer when it comes to development of renewable energy. One of these is tapping Langogan River in Puerto Princesa to produce hydropower.

“We have a lot of resources in the province that can be development into renewable resource, and with climate change, outlooks should also change,” she said.

Currently, the Langogan Power Corporation (LPC) is proposing to develop a hydropower plant in the province. It advertises itself as “a small British, North American and Filipino group of energy development professionals, who all live in the Philippines, in strong partnership with a major European national electricity utility and a large national Asia energy company.”

In related news, the ornithological society Bird Watch Palawan (BWP) traveled to Narra also Monday, to see the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo at Borbon Beach, Barangay Panacan, the same area where the coal power plant is being proposed for construction.

Ed Garcellano, said the purpose of the trip is to document the Philippine cockatoos in photos, and to later display them for public viewing to encourage support against the DPC’s coal power proposal.

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