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Around 10,000 Filipinos march in Batangas City, where the 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant is proposed, to demand to the next administration to cancel all proposed coal plants nationwide and hasten a transition to renewable energy. The campaign is part of a worldwide movement and the first in Asia to join "Break Free from Fossil Fuels 2016", a global wave of peaceful actions within 12 days and across six continents, including Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, the United States, Germany and Australia. (Jimmy A. Domingo/Greenpeace)

Saying yes to coal plant construction, Batangas city council leaves dirty legacy

By The Climate Reality Project Philippines
June 20, 2016

QUEZON CITY – With a vote of 6-4 in favor of the dirty coal plant to be built in the city of Batangas, the council gave a company locational clearance for the building of the new coal power plant (2 boiler units of 300 MW each) in the city.

Rodne Galicha, Philippine manager of The Climate Reality Project, a global movement founded by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore, said that "the council denied its people especially the children of their right to a healthful and balanced ecology in favor of a facility which historically emits the biggest cause of extreme weather conditions. In so doing, the council left the next generations of Batangas a dirty legacy. Allowing coal plants is tantamount to sleeping with the killer of thousands of lives when Typhoon Haiyan hit the country."

"The science is clear, hence countries adapted the Paris Agreement to address the cause and ill-effects of the climate crisis. Sustainable Development Goal 13 aims to 'take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact' and every local government unit is tasked to achieve its targets."

"We assume that the council is informed about the Climate Change Commission's Resolution 2016-001 signed by President Benigno Aquino III affirming the commitment to mainstream a low-carbon development pathway in accordance with the country's commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in the light of the submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to significantly and conditionally reduce carbon emissions by 70% by the year 2030. Eventually, the president signed Executive Order 206, s. 2016, stating clearly that 'consistent with the Philippines contributions under the UNFCCC, the government hereby adopts the policy of ensuring sustainable RE resource management in the country."

Given the recent international and national policies, the council of Batangas City would have shelved the proposal pending the national policy review and framework development ordered by government and the fact that existing development framework and policies fall under the Sustainable Development Goals. We hope that the new set of councilors be enlightened by science; strengthened by the will of the people and be guided by their city's mission: "To improve the quality of life of the citizens through sustained efforts to attain a balanced agro-industrial development; to promote a business-friendly environment; to generate more employment opportunities and to adequately provide the basic infrastructure utilities, facilities and social services necessary for a robust and liveable community."

Why we care? Apolinario Mabini, a Batangueno, in his "Ang Tunay na Sampung Utos" says:

"Kaya habang di pa napapaui ang mga patuto ng bawa't bayan o kaharian, na itinayo at inaalagan ng mga lahi at angkang walang pinagsasakitan kundi ang kanilang sariling kaginhawahan, sa kanya lamang dapat kang makisama sa ganap na pakikipag-isa, tungkol sa hinahangad at pag-aari, upang magkalakas ka hindi lamang sa pakikilaban sa kaaway ng lahat, kundi naman ng maidaos ang lahat ng pinupunta ng kabuhayan ng tawo." (Because of this, while the borders of the nations established and preserved by the egoism of race and of family remain standing, you must remain united to your country in perfect solidarity of views and interests in order to gain strength, not only to combat the common enemy, but also to achieve all the objectives of human life.)

The Climate Reality Project is a member of Piglas Pilipinas movement in which on May 4 mobilized 8,000+ people in Batangas City, where JG Summit Holdings aims to put up a 600-Megawatt coal fired power plant that is set to occupy a 20-hectare site in Barangay Pinamucan Ibaba, Batangas City.

The people demand the cancellation of the coal plant in Batangas as well as all 27 other proposed plants in the Philippines.

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