Paje urged to expand coal plant in Masinloc


Environment Secretary Ramon Paje

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Environment Secretary Ramon Paje should withdraw the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to a consortium of energy firms that wants to build a coal-fired power plant here and instead support efforts to expand a power plant in Masinloc town to protect Subic Bay, said Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II.

“Paje should not sacrifice the environment and tourism potential of Subic Bay by supporting the coal plant project of RP Energy. Instead, he should assist the Zambales government in talks about the expansion of the coal-fired power plant in Masinloc,” Lacbain added.

He said Paje should order the immediate withdrawal of the ECC to the 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant proposed to be built in the Redondo Peninsula here because it benefits only RP Energy and “sacrifices the environment, damages the tourism potential of Subic Bay and puts people here at grave risk.”

Paje, however, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) only gave way to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) push to have the coal-fired power plant built in Subic.

He said there was no reason to deny the power plant an amended ECC because this was just an expansion of the original ECC given to the project.

The amended ECC was issued to RP Energy by lawyer Juan Miguel Cuna, acting director of the Environmental Management Bureau, on Nov. 15.


But groups opposing the coal-fired power plant here asked for Paje’s resignation since, they said, the DENR’s guidelines for the implementation of the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System do not allow the use of an environmental performance report and management plan as a substitute for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for an environmentally critical project such as a coal-fired power plant.

In a letter to Paje, they said the previous ECC was “very specific” in requiring a new EIA for changes in the original project design.

Lacbain said the DENR should not abdicate its mandate to protect the environment just because the DOE asked it to do so. He said the United States-based AES Corp., one of the largest foreign investors in the country’s power sector, is planning to expand its operations in Masinloc.

“This could address the need for 600 MW [of power] that the DOE says it needs. And unlike with RP Energy, which will not pay a single centavo in taxes to us, Zambales will get at least P300 million from real property taxes. If the DENR helps us, we could also put a more independent and able multipartite monitoring team,” said Lacbain.

AES is a global power company with generation and distribution businesses in 30 countries.

Andrew Horrocks, AES country chair, said his company has been applying for an ECC for the expansion of the plant in Masinloc.

He said the first phase of the project includes the construction of a 300-MW coal plant, which would be completed by 2015. The second phase would see the remaining 300 MW going online by 2018, should there be a demand for more power at that time, he said.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair Roberto Garcia, in an earlier interview, said RP Energy’s contract with the SBMA was “highly disadvantageous” to the government due to the fact that the firm would pay only P1 million annually to the agency for several hectares of prime property in the Redondo Peninsula. Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

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  • martial_law_baby

    The RP Energy Project should be cancelled by the government. There is no benefit for the people of Zambales and Olongapo City economically. They will lose more if the ecotourism opportunities in the area are destroyed. Only RP Energy gained from this deal. Sec. Paje should go away together with RP Energy. They are both useless. It is also high time to review the existence of DENR. At the very least, a department of environment should be created independent from a department of natural resources. There is an obvious conflict between the two. How can you work for the protection of the environment on one hand and then work for its exploitation on the other. It is so crooked. If PNoy wants to show a tuwid na daan, this is just one of it.

  • noy29

     Sabi ni Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II-
    “Paje should not sacrifice the environment and tourism potential of Subic Bay by supporting the coal plant project of RP Energy. Instead, he should assist the Zambales government in talks about the expansion of the coal-fired power plant in Masinloc,”

    So ang lagay, OK lang sa kanya na masira ang environment at tourism potential ng Masinloc basta wag lang Subic Bay. Mga kapwa ko taga- Masinloc, mga kababali- tandaan ninyo eto, malapit na ang eleksiyon!!! Wag palalagpasin ang ganitong pag-iisip!!!

  • truthvslies

    Whose are the owners or operators of RP Energy. I do hope that they are not Chinese. Sec.Paje
    should initiate investigations of all Chinese mining firms circumventing Phil. Laws.

  • isidro c. valencia

    I noticed, if there is a controversial government projects and require ECC or other government approval, the officer who is in acting capacity signed the approval. P-Noy should issue an Executive Order to prevent this kind of “palusot.”

    Eh kung acting lang, dapat yong pinirmahan ay temporary din until it is signed by the authority or the one in charged.  

  • rod69

    To Mr Garcia, if RP Energy’s contract with the SBMA was “highly disadvantageous” to the government due to the fact that the firm would pay only P1 million annually,then why don’t you sue the officials involved from both parties before the Ombudsman? For that matter, why don’t you question the contract and have it annulled before the court, instead of yapping about it in media? Baka naman may ibang motibo ka na hindi namin alam? 

  • del pillar

    Mr. Paje, I believe this is another solicitation for commercial reason! Don’t you know that using this kind of fuel (coal) emits so much carbon dioxide that pollutes the atmosphere???? Tama na ang pag-iisip ng kayaman!!!!!

  • rey

    just a thought. if we ban all activities generating greenhouse gases (of course, except exhaling carbon dioxide), the philippines would be reducing the greenhouse gases in the entire earth by 0.28%. these activities include fossil fired-power plants, almost all means of transportation, cooking of food and even planting of rice. in the meantime, we are one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. while the united states and china continue to ‘industrialize’ and emit their own share of greenhouse gases.

  • beerhunters

    tourism jobs potential= child prostitute, adultprostitute, drug enterprise, gambling, mail order bride

  • randyaltarejos

    Baka kagaya na naman to ng Malampaya gas exploration ng Shell at Chevron sa Palawan where the government only gets a small amount of revenues, at the expense of the energy resources, because the oil firms get a huge chunks of the profits. Reason? The service contract was defective.

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