Clean energy advocates want all coal projects in Quezon province cancelled
ATIMONAN, Quezon — Community members and clean energy advocates in Quezon staged a fluvial protest on Friday as a symbolic action against the continued operation and expansion of coal-fired power plants in the province.
The protesters cited the detrimental impacts of coal plants on local livelihood, environment, and the health of residents.
The protest action, made as part of the National Day of Action Against Coal, was led by the Power for People Coalition (P4P) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
Protesters demanded the cancellation of coal projects in the pipeline, especially those that have yet to secure official DOE endorsements.
They also asked that the decommissioning of existing plants be included in the coal moratorium declared by the Department of Energy (DOE) last October.
“We have long suffered the presence of coal power plants in the name of progress. But we do not benefit from these plants. All we got are sick residents, a ruined environment, and higher risks of destructive typhoons,” said Fr. Warren Puno, Convenor of Quezon wide environmental group Quezon for Environment (QUEEN) and Director of the Ministry of Ecology of the Diocese of Lucena.
The province, which was recently devastated by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses, is currently home to three operating coal-fired power plants with an installed capacity of 2.2 GW.
With 3.6 GW more of coal in the pipeline, residents lament that Quezon is quickly turning into the country’s “coal capital” while being extremely vulnerable to fossil fuel-induced climate change.
“Kaming kabataan ng Atimonan ay lumahok sa National Day of Action dahil kinabukasan namin ang nakataya dito. Kami ang mapeperwisyo kung matutuloy ang mga pagtatayo ng coal plant dito sa Atimonan at iba pang bahagi ng Quezon. Hindi pa ba tayo natuto?” said Bianca Opalda, youth leader from local group KAPAKANAN.
(We the youth of Atimonan joined the National Day of Action because it is our future that is at stake here. We will be the one burdened if plans to build a coal plant in Atimonan and other parts of Qezon pushes through. Haven’t we learned?)
The fluvial action was held in Atimonan, which is the site of a 1,200 MW coal project proposed by a subsidiary of the Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) power generation arm MGen.
Two other projects are being proposed in the province, both of which have not yet received Certificates of Endorsement from the DOE.
“Quezon is not a dumpsite for coal. To the DOE, President Duterte, and all energy companies that keep forcing more coal in our province and across the Philippines, the Church and communities here will continue to stand together and fight for our right to a clean environment and clean air, ” Puno said.
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