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SBMA rejects Subic coal plant project

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11:51 PM January 25th, 2013

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January 25th, 2013 11:51 PM

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) board on Friday struck down the agency’s P200-million lease development agreement with a consortium of energy firms that want to put up a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant here.

While he did not give details on the board’s discussions on Friday, Philip Camara, a board director of the SBMA, confirmed to the Inquirer that the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) deal was not ratified by the board.

An SBMA official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said of the 10 board members present in the meeting, six voted against the ratification of the lease development agreement. One board member was absent.

“Yes, [it was] not ratified [because] the board said that the terms and conditions contained in the draft amended contract still needed to be fully considered, negotiated and agreed upon, including the concerns of stakeholders,” the official said.

The Inquirer tried but failed to get SBMA chair Roberto Garcia’s response to the rejection of the RP Energy deal.

RP Energy is a consortium of energy firms composed of the Manila Electric Co., Aboitiz Power Inc. and Taiwan Cogen. It has proposed the Subic power project, which aims to build and operate a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Redondo Peninsula in this free port.

Zambales officials and residents and businessmen in the free port turned down the project in various consultations held by the government because of fears that a coal-fired plant would harm the Subic environment.

As information about the rejection of the deal spread, groups who opposed the coal-fired power plant project congratulated the SBMA board of directors who struck down the project.

“We are very heartened by the SBMA administration’s failure to get its board of directors to ratify the deal with RP Energy. After all the insider maneuvers and dishonest representations made to the community by SBMA administrative staff and the proponent, it seems that the SBMA board understands that the will of the people cannot be ignored without consequences,” Timothy Desmond, president of the marine park, Ocean Adventure, said on behalf of tourism operators in the free port.

Desmond, however, said groups opposing the project must remain vigilant, as the SBMA may again attempt to get its board of directors to push the deal.

Earlier, Camara described the document as “full of holes.” Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

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