“These 6,000 plus signatures will not be a waste.”
This was the assurance of Environment Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio Jr. to civil society groups in Palawan after receiving an online petition with 6,000 signatures opposing the planned coal-fired power plant project of the DMCI Power Corporation.
“This is an evidence that people is against the coal project in Palawan. DMCI must prove to us that the environmental reasons behind this signatures is invalid.” Ignacio said.
Anti-coal network in Palawan trooped to DENR to deliver more than 6000 signature gathered from online petition urging DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to stop the coal project in Palawan by not issuing an ECC.
In a dialogue with leaders and grassroots communities asking the Office of the DENR non-issuance of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to DMCI, confirmed that their office has not yet received DMCI’s ECC application which is contrary to what DMCI had been saying.
“Our office has not yet received DMCI’s ECC application. We will ensure they follow all the necessary requirements before an ECC will be served,” Ignacio said.
The Provincial Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) had already approved the project; it is now for the DENR Office to issue an ECC as a requirement before the project starts.
“This means a continuing persistence and struggle for us while DMCI is yet to process an ECC. We will do our best before any coal plant construction takes place,” Cynthia Sumagaysay del Rosario spokesperson of Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy.
In a press conference, Wednesday, Community representatives from Palawan aired their vehement opposition to the project.
Teofilo Tredez, a member of Calatigas Irrigation System Association said that the coal fired power plant project will put the livelihood of the people in the town of Narra in peril.
“Our livelihood largely depends on fishing and farming. DMCI may be able to pay the penalties to any environmental damages if this project push through– but its impacts to our lives and livelihood will be irreversible,” Tredez said.
Keiza Mae Pacete, of 350.org Palawan said the Palawan Island Power Development Plan (PIPDP), also known as the Energy Masterplan proves that the least cost and the most sustainable option would come from renewable potentials of Palawan.
The Environmental Legal Assistance Center is pushing to the termination of the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) of the DMCI due to several violations committed by the company.
“We are engaging with PALECO asking for the termination of its PSA since the company had committed several violations in their agreement. We hope that PALECO will take action, “said Atty Gerthie Anda, executive director of ELAC.
In 2012, Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) entered into a PSA with DMCI, which provided for the establishment of a coal-fired thermal power plant project.
Civil society groups and local communities expressed their concern to the provincial government and the Department of Energy (DOE) that coal plants are an ecological mistake to Palawan’s people and biodiversity.