Group holds picket vs. Naga coal-fired plant-A A +A
Saturday, October 9, 2010
SOME 50 placard-bearing protesters of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) staged a picket rally across the unfinished Korean Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) coal-fired power plant in Barangay Colon, City of Naga yesterday.
This time, they protested the funding from an international financial institution, which the FDC described as “exacerbating” climate change.
The FDC identified Korean Export Import Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the funding institutions that financed the 200-megawat Kepco-Salcon Power Corp. (KSPC) coal-fired power plant.
“ADB anti-poor” and “Stop funding climate change,” read the placards of the rallyists.
“We hold them accountable for funding this project,” said Aaron Pedrosa, FDC secretary general.
Pedrosa said Cebu has been identified as prone to adverse effects of climate change, placing the province “13th of 20 provinces projected to be at risk as a result of temperature increase.”
Climate change makes Cebu prone to landslides during the La Niña season, he said.
An FDC press statement also criticized Cebuano Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rene Almendras for giving emphasis in putting up more coal-fired power plants to remedy the projected 2,150-megawatt deficiency in the Visayas grid covering the 2009-2030 period.
The FDC recommended instead that renewable sources of energy, such as wind power, be maximized, not coal energy. Wind power has great potential in Cebu, it said.
However, investments in coal energy have taken renewable sources of energy to the backseat, getting little or no attention at all, it added.
Pedrosa also claimed majority of the Naga-hanons have a negative perception as to the operation of the coal-powered plant in terms of public health, environment and economy.
However, Colon Councilor Nick Repollo, who dropped by at the protest rally, disputed Pedrosa’s claim, saying the power plant has generated local employment and income.
As to the environmental effects, Repollo suggested to the FDC to hold a rally before government agencies, such as the DOE and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, for approving Kepco’s environmental clearances.
“Their endeavor is water under the bridge. It is a useless effort because this power plant, which cost almost P1 billion, is set to operate next year,” he added.
The FDC’s picket lasted for two hours, and the protesters left the area past 11 a.m.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 09, 2010.