AKSYON Klima, a civil society network advocating for environmental reforms, sees good potential in Mindanao for renewable energy and thus urged the local government units (LGUs) to step up programs that is geared towards shifting from coal energy to efficient energy sources to mitigate the escalation of climate change.

In a forum attended by different stakeholders, renewable energy advocate Jessica Dator-Bercilla, Senior Advocacy and Policy Office for Asia and the Middle East for Christian Aid, stressed that although industrialization is needed for the country to develop, fossil-fuel dependency must be eliminated as it endangers the environment that affects the people in return.

“There are means na ngayon para mag generate ng electricity na hindi kailangan ‘yong fossil fuel. Actually, worldwide na ang trend ngayon na mas mababa ngayon ang cost of renewable energy compared to coal,” she said.

In recent years, renewable energy sources usage has improved while the cost has become affordable compared to coal-fired power plants.

Aksyon Klima National Coordinator Marvin Purzuelo, for his part, said Lanao Lake in Lanao del Sur remains to be an advantage as no other island group has that.

“Katulad ng solar and wind dahil intermittent siya, kailanga ni i-store habang may sun or wind pero ang Mindanao may malaking storage facility na talagang nag co-complement and nagsu-supplement sa renewable energy,” he said.

The Renewable Energy Law was passed in 2008, and the government later on followed it up with the National Renewable Energy Plan in 2010 seeking to triple the renewable energy capacity of the country by 2030. However, some of the provisions of these law, he said are not fully implemented.

"We're not against the whole idea that Philippines needs to be industrialized because we need it for development. Our point is may mga pamamaraan na ngayon in reaching our development targets that are cleaner and greener,” Purzuela said.

Thus, their advocacy is to raise awareness and bring it to the government and other stakeholders that there are a lot of options since the Philippines utilize renewable sources of energy particularly hydropower, geothermal, solar, wind and biomass resources that is much safer for earth and can contribute to the lowering of temperature.

They are also alarmed with the growing number of coal power plants here, which means that there’s a need for a better infrastructure, better investment and support for renewable energy so that the people will opt for energy that is efficient and eco-friendly instead.