Civil society groups in the municipality of Narra recently held an inter-faith rally to drum up their opposition to controversial projects in the town that they said are harmful to their well-being and to the environment.
Around 70 individuals gathered at a local church for the event on Saturday, July 31, to pray for the environment and call for “enlightenment” of the government to heed their demands.
The group was spearheaded by local members of the No to Coal Movement, a civil society campaign launched over two years ago to oppose a coal-fired power plant project that will be located in Barangay Bato-Bato.
The group is also opposing the planned expansion of a mining operation in the town of the company Citinickel Mining Corporation, that has been granted a permit by the national government despite local opposition.
They are also protesting the ongoing construction of a seawall along the town’s coastal area, which they claimed had been done without proper consultation and studies.
Renz Tenorio, a convenor of the No To Coal Movement, expressed concern about the continuation of the coal plant project of DMCI Power Corporation, which had already received a go ahead from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) subject to stringent environmental compliance.
“Ang ini-expect namin diyan ay nahinto ‘yong coal fired power plant kasi ongoing ang kaso niyan sa DMCI. Then suddenly, nagulat na lang kami na tuloy-tuloy pala,” he said.
“Kapag natuloy itong coal fired power plant, alam naman natin, there’s no such thing as clean coal. Maraming alternatibong enerhiya na pwede natin tutukan,” he said.
Tenorio said they are coordinating with support groups to help in their campaign.
“Nakakalungkot na isinusulong ng ating mga leader ng Palawan ang coal fired power plant. Kami sa No To Coal Movement ay hindi titigil at patuloy kaming makikialam at makikilahok sa mga ganitong usapin upang tutulan ang mga ganitong hindi makakalikasang proyekto,” he said.
Suspended Narra mayor Gerandy Danao, a supporter of the group, sent a video message during the activity.
“Sa una pa lang ay atin nang tinutulan ang coal fired power plant na ito ngunit ginagawan pa rin pala ng paraan ng mga gahaman na ituloy ang pagtatayo sa ating bayan. Sinasabi ko sa inyo na ako mismo ay tutol dito dahil mas malaki ang idudulot na problema nito sa kalikasan,” Danao said.
Danao also expressed support to the residents of Barangay Calategas in opposing the seawall project being constructed there. He stated that farm to market roads, livelihood, food sufficiency, and health are among the things that must be prioritized instead of these activities in Narra.
“Asahan niyo na makabalik lang ang inyong lingkod sa pwesto ay tinitiyak ko sa inyo na gagawin natin ang lahat para masolusyunan ang mga problema ng ating bayan,” he said.