Non-government groups have recently asked the Supreme Court to stop the Philippine government from pushing through with new coal-fired power plants in the country, including in Palawan where a planned 15-MW plant has been stalled.
Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) executive director Grizelda Mayo-Anda on Tuesday said they have filed a petition for mandamus before the Supreme Court to compel the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Energy (DoE) “to strictly implement their mandate to follow the provisions of the Clean Air Act and the Renewable Energy Act”.
Among the petitioners before the high tribunal was Aborlan environmentalist Engr. Toribio Ortega, Jr., who was among those who led the town’s campaign against the aborted plan of DMCI Power Corporation to set up a coal-fired power facility in Aborlan.
“Maraming mga alituntunin na dapat ipatupad nila. At sa namo-monitor lalo na ang mga coal projects, lumalabas hindi ‘yun napapatupad,” Anda explained.
Anda said they are aware of the efforts of DMCI to seek legal action before the Supreme Court that will allow them to proceed with the project.
Anda said their petition also asked for the issuance of temporary environmental protection order to stop the DENR and DoE from approving coal plant projects. A mandamus is a special civil action that seeks a Court to order a certain agency to implement a particular law.
Anda expressed concern that the DENR could change its policy towards the DMCI plant in Palawan after it was flatly rejected by former secretary Gina Lopez.
“Kasama ang Palawenos sa kabuuang adhikain na pahintuin muna ang pagpo-proseso ng pagbibigay ng ECC, ng SC at iba pang permit sa mga coal-fired power plant. At kasama d’yan ang panukala ng DMCI sa San Isidro,” Anda said.
DMCI declined to issue a statement on the Supreme Court petition, when sought by Palawan News for its reaction.
DENR-EMB Regional Director Girlie Abu has confirmed to Palawan News that the DMCI application for ECC has already been forwarded to the central office of DENR but she refused to give more details.
DMCI has a pending application for ECC for its 15-megawatt Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) Coal-fired Power Project in San Isidro, Narra, Palawan filed in 2015. Based on the technical description of the project, the project site is to be located in a former nickel ore stockyard of Narra Nickel Corporation.