MEMBERS of an environmental conservation group have lodged a petition before the Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH 7) against the planned construction of a liquified natural gas (LNG) and fossil gas power plant in the cities of Cebu and Naga.

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) appealed to DOH 7 on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, to prioritize human health and the environment over the proposed projects.

PMCJ Cebu Chapter convener Teoderico Navea said their petition is also addressed to other government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Management Bureau, and the Cebu City Government.

Navea said they are strongly against these kinds of energy sources since it exacerbates climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases.

They are “deadly, dirty and expensive” sources of energy, the PMCJ said.

‘Deadly plants’

The group opposes a plan to build a 300-megawatt (MW) LNG in Cebu City by Terra Movers Development Corp. and US-based Westfield Resources as announced by Mayor Michael Rama in September 2022; and the proposed 150-MW LNG power plant to be constructed by the Aboitiz Power Corp. in City of Naga, southern Cebu.

“One of the strong bases for the rejection of the proposed 300-MW coal power plant in Barangay Sawang Calero in 2016 is the lack of social acceptability of the project,” the group said in a reminder to Rama.

Navea said they recently received reports that proponents of the LNG power plant have started to infiltrate communities to get the people’s support for the project.

“This time around, they are moving to address their weak spot before which led to the community’s rejection of the coal power plant,” said Navea.

Maria Estela Vasquez, PMCJ Visayas area coordinator said they want to highlight the negative impact of fossil fuel on the health of the public by emitting toxins that can affect the respiratory system.

Vasquez also said generating electricity through LNG and coal is costly since these types of fuels need to be imported from foreign countries.

DOH 7 health education and promotions officer Ligaya Moneva said PMCJ’s petition will be brought to the DOH executive committee to discuss the issues raised.

“This is involving the environment which is one also of the priority health areas under the Universal Health Care (Act),” said Moneva.

The PMCJ is urging the government to invest more in the use of renewable energy rather than adopting hazardous power sources.

In an interview, City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong told SunStar Cebu he supports any project being initiated in his city for as long as it not only provides jobs for his constituents but also complies with environmental policies.

Chiong said the proposed LNG plant which has not yet been materialized is supposed to be constructed in Barangay Colon where the old Naga Power Plant owned by the National Power Corp. used to be located. (IRT, JKV, DCL)