Jul 8, 2020

Alvarez vows to override Danao on coal plant permits

Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez talks to the media on Saturday (December 16) during the "Pakimanan ta si Gob" monthly kapihan to give them updates about current activities of the provincial government and answer questions regarding various issues. (Photo courtesy of Palawan PIO)

Governor Jose Alvarez on Saturday said that he can, and will, “override” Narra mayor Gerandy Danao’s decision if the latter denies the issuance of a business permit to the 15-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the municipality.

“I can always override his decision. Sakop ‘yon ng province. This is already a national project,” Alvarez said.

Danao has yet to decide on the controversial issue, stating that he wants to consult his constituents before doing so.

“I am not here to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to coal. What I’m trying to say is if it’s advantageous for us, then I’ll give it a go signal. But, if not, we’ll stop it,” Danao said in an earlier statement.

Alvarez maintained that the municipal mayor’s action or inaction is rendered moot as he can exercise his jurisdiction insofar as it concerns the whole province.

“Hindi tayo makikinig sa iilang maingay. Kung patuloy tayong makikinig sa maiingay, walang mangyayari sa probinsya natin,” he said.

Since 2012, DMCI Power Corporation has been pushing for the construction of a coal-fired power plant after signing a supply agreement with the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO).

The energy plant was originally planned to be built in Barangay Panacan, Narra, but was subsequently rejected as it is proximate to the breeding grounds of the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo inhabiting in the area.

Consequently, it was also rejected in its second proposed site in the municipality of Aborlan after it was fiercely opposed by students and teachers from the Western Philippines University (WPU) for “environmental costs”.

The current proposed site is in Barangay Bato-Bato (also San Isidro), Narra where it eventually got endorsements of the barangay and municipal councils paving the way for the issuance of a Strategic for Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).

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