Diocese against coal plant in San Carlos

THE Diocese of San Carlos is opposing the plan of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to put up a 300-megawatt coal plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

The diocese, in a position paper signed by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, said the “Catholic Church supports the protection of our common good and our common home. We believe that progress can be achieved by sustainable and climate-friendly means.”

“The call to care for people on the margins of society and our responsibility to care for the diversity of life on Earth, including the ecological systems that support life, are integral to the living out of our mission as followers of Christ for there is a close bond between concern for nature and justice for the poor. These should also inform our considerations on how we ought to invest our God-given resources,” the bishop said.

“We need to point out the ‘double injustice of climate change’ brought about by our lack of care for our common home — the poor who are more vulnerable to suffer the most from extreme weather events like floods, landslides and typhoons, increasing water scarcity, reductions in crop yields, and rising sea levels that impact coastal cities are the least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions — for the fewer goods and services one consumes, the less greenhouse gas emissions one produces,” the bishop said.

San Carlos City was recognized by the United Nations as one of the most livable cities in the world, the Bishop said.

“It is considered as the energy hub of the Philippines and Southeast Asia with its biofuel and solar energy, together with the entire Negros. Not only will a new coal plant stain these existing global recognition and honors; it will pollute as well the commons (water, air, land), harm human health and downturn community resilience.”

“It is a human right to live in a clean, healthy and safe environment. All over the country, host communities of coal suffer from the health crisis, including premature deaths attributed to currently operating power plants. Recorded attributable diseases are cerebrovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive heart disease, lung cancer, and lower respiratory infections. These are caused by toxic heavy metals present in coal ash,” the Bishop said.

“Moreover, the issue of coal is a financial and economic issue. The coal-fired power plant will also deprive residents of enjoying clean and cheap energy from renewable resources. Fossil fuels expedite climate change. And the impacts of climate change are costly – more than what our country could afford,” the position paper said.

The Diocese called on the local government of San Carlos City and the provincial government of Negros Occidental to disapprove any proposal or application of SMC Global or any company at all for a coal-fired power plant project.

“We encourage Negrosanons and local business industries to continue their real efforts towards a more sustainable and cleaner environment. As stewards of the Earth and as individuals with common needs, it is our duty to take care of our home and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”


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