CEBU

Espinoza: Power, trees and traffic

Free Zone

THE Aboitiz Power Corp. is now a power company to reckon with. It’s among the country’s top three power companies. It generates a total 4,000 megawatts nationwide. I was among those invited to visit its newly opened 300 megawatt clean coal-powered plant of Therma South Inc. in Brgy. Binugao, Davao City, and the Tudaya 2 Hydropower plant that produces 7 megawatts of renewable energy in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. Both are subsidiaries of Aboitiz Power Corp.

What’s prominent in the two power plants we visited is the vegetation. Trees were planted and grown especially in the coal-powered plant in Binugao, Davao City. The Therma South Inc. boasts of clean coal energy using the latest circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion, a new technology in coal-powered plant that does neither emit black smoke nor pollute the environment. The plant also features a fully-covered coal dome, the first in the country.

The Aboitiz Power Corp. has several subsidiary power companies in different parts of the country that generates and distributes power. Veco in Cebu City and Davao Light in Davao City are among the companies that generate and distribute power.

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Environmentalists and conservationists were in Carcar City yesterday to stop the cutting of the centuries-old acacia trees that lined the national road in Perelos, Carcar that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has set for destruction to give way to the widening of the road.

The Court of Appeals is yet to act on the petition that environmentalist lawyer Ben Cabrido filed, seeking a Writ of Kalikasan to prevent the cutting of these centuries-old trees. Even with the pending petition, the DPWH is bent on obliterating these trees because the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) already issued the cutting permit.

One question that I would ask our supposed “responsible” officials of the DENR and DPWH is, where are your sense of responsibility to nature and wisdom of history? These trees condemned to be cut were not just planted and grown for aesthetics, but they’ve provided shade and help clean the air we breathe.

Just because 1,000 trees are to be planted for every tree that is cut would be enough reason for DPWH and DENR to cut these trees despite the opposition of the citizenry? I see no logic to this rule. And, what have the local government officials concerned done? Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she does not favor the cutting of the trees. But can she do more than just make a statement?

Worse is that those who sacrificed their time and effort to protect these centuries-old trees and the environment are maligned and accused of doing it allegedly for the sake of foreign funding. They should be ashamed of themselves.

On the traffic issue, it’s axiomatic that the officials of the Province of Cebu are now complaining of the unbearable traffic in Cebu City when this problem has been here more than 10 years. Governor Garcia had to walk on Monday morning to catch with Capitol’s flag-raising ceremony.

Sixth District Board Member Glenn Soco was quick to pass a resolution during its Monday session to declare a traffic crisis. But was the declaration only for Cebu City or for the entire province? Soco’s resolution states that health risks and inconvenience are brought about by the heavy vehicular congestion. It quoted a study by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) that showed the daily losses attributed to traffic has reached P1.1 billion.

But what’s the suggested solution to the traffic crisis, Mr. Board Member?


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