AFTER deliberations and consultations, the Cebu City Council disapproved the proposed 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant project in Barangay Sawang Calero.
During the regular session yesterday, Councilor Ma. Nida Cabrera, chairperson of the committee on environment, presented the committee report that recommended denying an endorsement for the project.
The Council approved the report unanimously.
Ludo Power Corp. community relations officer Nelson Yuvallos declined to comment. He was present during the session yesterday and even shook hands with Council members and some residents.
Following the development, Councilors Noel Wenceslao and Richard Osmeña withdrew their resolution for the Council to endorse the coal plant project.
In the seven-page report, Cabrera cited four grounds that guided the members of the committee to disapprove the project.
Cabrera said the project lacks social acceptability from the residents of Sawang Calero.
While the Barangay Council of Sawang Calero and other nearby barangays endorsed the project, a petition was submitted to the Council by some of the affected residents that expressed their opposition.
Cabrera said it played a significant role in their judgment, considering that residents emphasized the area where the proposed power plant will be built is close to the community, with only a concrete wall to separate them. This would be different from the situation in the proponent’s existing power plant in Sual, Pangasinan.
The proponent also failed to submit the environmental impact assessment (EIA), which was supposed to report on the projected impact of the project on the environment and what the company could do to address it.
The proposed site of the facility also does not conform to the zoning ordinance or City Ordinance 1656, which states that power plants are allowed only in medium and high-intensity industrial districts (I-2).
In Sawang Calero’s case, the area is a low-intensity industrial district (I-1).
“While exemptions and variances on land uses may be allowed, granting exemption to a coal-fired thermal power plant in a densely populated community presents a clear danger to the health of residents and the environment,” read a portion of the report.
Two groups, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Philippine Exporters Confederation-Cebu chapter, submitted their position papers supporting the project.
Went in black
Keeshia Salazar, Arnold Villariza, Rex June de los Reyes, Engr. Roel Militar, Dr. Marienella Jarina, Fr. Rowell Gumalay of the Missionaries of the Poor, residents of Sawang Calero, and Health Care Without Harm Asia also submitted their position papers against the project.
Some residents, wearing black T-shirts, attended the session to hear the decision of the committee.
They all clapped upon hearing the disapproval of the Council and gave white roses to the councilors during a recess.
Editha Salazar, one of the residents, said she can finally sleep soundly at night, knowing that a power plant will no longer be built just a few blocks from her house.
“Wa’y sama akong kalipay kay wa gyod mi katog ani, risgo kaayo ni sa among mga anak. Wa gyod mo kahibaw ani nga project. Kung kami lang sa akong pamilya, pwede ra kaayo mi mo-adto sa probinsya pero para ni sa among mga silingan nga pobre nga wa gyod intawn kahibaw unsa ni (This makes me very happy. I have lost sleep worrying about the risks this project poses on my children. We didn’t know about this at first. My family could move elsewhere, but this development is for our poor neighbors who may be unaware of this project),” she told Sun.Star Cebu.