September 24, 2019

Nationwide protests erupt vs coal

By Power 4 People Coalition

Joining millions of people around the world protesting the continued use of coal, thousands of Filipinos in different areas of the country marched against the “technology neutral” stance of Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, which allowed the construction of new coal-fired power plants in defiance of President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to reduce coal reliance and develop renewable energy (RE).

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) led environmentalists, residents of coal-affected communities, Church groups, and other stakeholders in holding massive protests in the country.

“We pay for coal with our money, our health, our environment, and our future. In return, we get unreliable energy and fat profits for owners of power companies. We want things to change, and we want it to change now,” said P4P Convenor Gerry Arances.

P4P led thousands to the action on Mendiola Street in front of Malacañang to demand a moratorium on new coal plants and the full implementation of the Renewable Energy Law.

Its action was supported by the CBCP-NASSA, the e National Secretariat for Social Action more popularly known as Caritas Philippines.

The action was held simultaneously with other protest actions in La Union, Quezon, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Davao City, and other coal-affected and coal-threatened communities.

“Based on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we have less than 11 years to avert catastrophic climate change. We can do that by eliminating coal and most advanced countries in the world have done so. But the Philippines not just didn’t stop using coal, it is increasing its use of coal-fired power plants against all logic,” said Arances.

The country’s energy sustainability ranking has slipped from 70th to 94th; and its environmental sustainability ranking skidded from 1st to 68th, based on the World Energy Council (WEC) Trilemma Index.

“We are one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. We cannot let the current state of affairs continue and expect that we would still have a country to call home in the future. Only direct and decisive action today will prevent certain catastrophe tomorrow,” said Arances.


Contact: Vin Buenaagua, Center For Energy, Ecology & Development, +639998074057