THE public hearing called recently by the Cebu City Council to tackle the proposal of Ludo Power Corp. (LPC) to set up two 150-megawatt coal-fired power plants in Barangay Sawang Calero showed that the tug-of-war over the project promises to be intense. While Ludo has succeeded in convincing the City Council to open the discussion on the project, the move only fired up local environmentalists.
It's not that we haven't seen tugs-of-war like this before. Cebu has a number of coal-fired power plants already and their existence has invited a delicate balancing act between economic and environmental concerns.
Indeed, Ludo reps merely repeated during the public hearing what have been said by coal-fired power plant operators on how a steady supply of electricity could spark progress. The arguments by environmentalists are also not novel: coal-fired power plants bring havoc to the environment and are detrimental to the health of the people living around them.
Which means that for the City Council, the discussion should focus on the uniqueness of the Ludo-proposed project while not losing sight of the general arguments for or against the operation of coal-fired power plants.
Past experiences with the construction and operation of coal-fired power plants in Cebu should only serve as guides in scrutinizing the particulars of the Ludo proposal.
An example: Barangay Sawang Calero, the proposed site of the Ludo-proposed coal-fired power plant, and its environs are thickly populated areas unlike say, the barangay in Naga City where the coal-fired power plant of the Korea Electric Power Corp.-SPC Power Corp. sits. Another: What is the record of the LPC and its partners Marubeni Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co. as far as the construction and operation of “clean” coal-fired power plants are concerned. Still another: Is there an urgent need to set up another coal-fired power plant in Cebu at this very moment?
The Ludo proposal is a serious issue that should draw the concern of everybody and not just the environmentalists. The future not only of the people in Sawang Calero and its environs but also of Cebu City is at stake here.