We, the Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Atimonan, Quezon, declare our opposition to the proposed building of the 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in our town by the Meralco PowerGen Corporation. Our call is rooted in the Church’s mission to become stewards of the Earth as part of our worship of God.

In doing so, we are heeding our Diocesan Synod that calls on the Church to “intensify Her involvement in environmental issues.” We are also heeding the call of Pope Francis in his Laudato Si to care for God’s creation and our common home for the well-being of current and future generations. In his encyclical, the Pope identified climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day” (25) and likewise stated that “technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay” (165).

Since June 2015, we have led marches and prayer vigils that we call “Lakad-Dasal-Bibliya Para sa Kalikasan, or Bible prayer walk for nature. We have also conducted a medical mission among the families living in the proposed site of the coal plant in Brgy. Villa Ibaba, where we provided access to basic health services and engaged them in meaningful dialogue about the potential health risks of the proposed coal plant.

The report, “Coal: A Public Health Crisis”, jointly published by Greenpeace and Harvard University, shows that diseases and deaths attributed to coal use in the Philippines showed an estimated 960 premature deaths each year due to stroke, ischemic heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases. If the new power plants are to be developed, premature deaths may rise up to 2,410 — more than double the current number of people dying from coal-related pollution in the Philippines.

Aside from the potential health risk, the coal plant has a potential adverse impact to the community’s livelihood. Atimonan is sustained by fishing and agriculture and the coal ash that would contaminate the coastal waters and the land, therefore depriving them of subsistence and income.

Moreover, the argument that coal is an indispensable fuel for economic development is faulty because any data supporting this claim rarely takes into account the environmental and social impacts of coal6 use from its exploration, extraction, transportation and use. Not to mention that it doesn’t stand to current studies particularly from the recent World Economic Forum7 that proves renewable energy has already surpassed any new fossil fuel capacity as the cheapest form of energy.

Lastly, there is scientific consensus that carbon emissions from energy facilities like coal plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases that cause global warming that causes climate change.

As a way of bearing witness to available energy alternatives to coal, we switched on a 5-kilowatt grid-type solar system on the rooftop of our parish church last August 2015, as part of the celebration to honor our parish patroness. The solar system now supplies almost 50% of the daytime electricity needs of the parish, translating to around PHP 10,000 to PHP 15,000 savings in our monthly bill.

We are doing this because we believe that beyond resistance, we should be taking concrete examples to prove it is possible to switch to renewables.

Signed by:



In-Charge, Diocesan Desk on Ecological Concern

Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of the Angels Parish

Atimonan, Quezon



Director, Diocesan Stewardship Program

Parish Priest, Our Lady of the Angels Parish

Atimonan, Quezon