Green groups calling for end to coal stopped from staging protest in Mendiola
MANILA — As part of the National Day of Action Against Coal, sustainable energy advocates led by the Power for People Coalition (P4P) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) on Friday tried to march to Mendiola to bring their calls for a coal moratorium to President Duterte.
The groups said they held the protest due to what they decried as the Department of Energy’s skepticism towards any concrete policy statement that would completely cancel all proposed coal projects country.
The marchers, however, were stopped by the Philippine National Police from entering Mendiola.
P4P has called for an end to the use of coal over the years, citing its emissions drive climate change and “fuels disasters”.
“We have been making this call for years. We’ve heard President Duterte commit to more renewable energy in his SONA. We heard the DOE say they want renewable energy. We even heard DOE say they want a coal moratorium. But all that has happened so far is the proliferation of coal,” said P4P convenor Gerry Arances.
“And now we had a succession of devastating typhoons which has pushed our country’s and people’s resilience to the limit. We must move to end coal and limit its effect on climate change, and do it now,” said Arances.
The declaration of the DOE of a coal moratorium late in October, the P4P said, should result in the non-issuance of any new Certificates of Endorsement, and the eventual decommissioning of existing plants.
“While PMCJ acknowledges the coal moratorium as unprecedented in DOE’s energy policy, we are not given assurance that all 13.8 GW composed of 23 coal plants in the pipeline will not be constructed,” said Ian Rivera, national coordinator of PMCJ.
“With the recent devastation caused by a series of five typhoons, DOE must now move to cancel these projects and declare the phaseout period not later than 2030 of the existing 9.88 GW of coal. We are now in a climate emergency. All these plants must be stopped and replaced with clean, affordable renewables,” he said.
Residents from communities hosting coal-fired power plants joined the march.
“The damage from typhoons Rolly, Ulysses, and all the other supertyphoons have long been predicted by scientists, but
these predictions were ignored by various administrations in the name of convenience. The time has come to demand accountability and for the government to act in the best interests of its citizens,” said Arances.
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