ENVIRONMENTALIST groups called for an end to operations of coal power plants in a picket at the Freedom Park in Roxas Ave. in Davao City on Friday.

Hundreds of rallyists coming from Greenpeace, No to Coal Davao and other environmentalist groups marched along the Freedom Park to take part in the global day of action against coal that will be celebrated today, Saturday.

Program manager for Greenpeace Southeast Asia Beau Baconguis said: "Filipinos deserve to live in a coal-free environment. We want to be free from worries and fears that dirty fossil fuels like coal bring."

"The Philippines is already bearing the brunt of climate change impacts. It is simply illogical and immoral to pump more carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which will only bring more destruction to the nation and will jeopardize the health and security of the country," Baconguis added.

Baconguis also noted the existence of nine coal-fired power plants in the country with the combined capacity of 4,278 megawatts.

He said there are 26 proposed coal-fired power plant projects in the country. 14 of these are already committed, or are set to be constructed, while 12 are yet to be finalized.

In Luzon, 10 are set to be erected while two projects are still being studied. In Visayas, two are set for construction while three projects are yet to reach their final proposal. Mindanao has two finalized projects, including one in Barangay Binugao, Toril and three indicative projects.

"If all are constructed and become operational, it will surely edge out renewable energy technologies altogether and lock us to dirty energy in the next three to four decades," Baconguis said.

During the picket, Greenpeace activists also cited that the development of coal plants in the country is almost criminal in nature and it opposes the Renewable Energy Law and other environmental laws that try to alleviate the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Dr. Jean Lindo of No to Coal Davao, meanwhile, said: "We will not allow the government's short sighted vision bind us into a dirty energy future which we are already paying a heavy price tag for its impacts. It's time to take action and tend the discussion. Let's end the age of coal."