Gov declares Negros Occidental coal-free
BACOLOD CITY —Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. issued an executive order (EO) on Wednesday declaring Negros Occidental coal-free, saying this was a necessary step so the province could contribute in easing the impact of climate change.
“The province of Negros Occidental will continue to pursue clean and renewable energy projects and oppose the establishment of any coal-fired power plant,” Marañon said in Executive Order No. 19-08.
Through the EO, the governor asked the provincial board to pass an ordinance that would oppose any move to put up a coal-fired power plant in any part of the province.
Damage to environment
“Climate change is already wreaking havoc on weather conditions with devastating effects. We need to act now to prevent further damage by banning coal plants in Negros,” Marañon said.
He said more countries had been decommissioning their coal-fired power plants due to the damage these bring to the environment.
The EO was issued amid plans of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. to build a 300-megawatt circulating fluidized bed coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.
The provincial board, however, has yet to act on Marañon’s request.
On Wednesday, about 2,000 protestors, mostly students, gathered in front of the provincial capitol in Bacolod City to call on the board to ban coal plants in the province.
Last year, Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo issued an EO banning coal-fired power plants in his province.
“Both governors of Negros Island have declared [the island] coal-free. We hope we, citizens, continue to be vigilant and do our part to keep the whole Negros clean and green,” San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said.
Alminaza and the three other bishops of Negros Island last year issued a joint pastoral statement opposing the construction of a coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.
The San Carlos bishop said he was grateful for Marañon’s declaration and hoped that the board would support it.
Marañon, through the EO, created a Provincial Renewable Energy Council (PREC), which would formulate measures encouraging renewable energy programs for a greener and energy-sufficient province.
The PREC will be chaired by the governor and co-chaired by the provincial board’s committee chair on energy.
The council will recommend renewable energy programs, facilitate their implementation and ensure that these conform with the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. It is also tasked to monitor projects contrary to Marañon’s executive order.
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