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Masbateños: No to coal-fired power plant

MASBATE CITY—Civil society group Masbate Talks has launched an online petition opposing the establishment of a coal-fired power plant in Barangay Tugbo, Mobo, Masbate by the company David M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI).

David M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI)'s power business
David M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI)'s power business
Photo: DCMI

Construction

DCMI’s power business has begun the construction of the Masbate Diesel Power Plant in said barangay with a total guaranteed dependable capacity of 13 megawatts.

The National Power Corporation (NPC) awarded DMCI, after a competitive selection process, the right to supply power to the island of Masbate for fifteen years through a Power Supply Agreement with Masbate Electric Cooperative (MASELCO), according to the company

Myth

Addressed to the Office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Masbate, the petition maintains that the idea of “clean coal” is a myth.

“There is no such thing as “clean coal” because by nature coal is dirty. Coal is an obsolete and dirty technology. No known technology can change this fact. There are available options to utilize renewable sources of energy – both Masbate City and Mobo have viable wind generation potential for solar and wind energy [according to the] (US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.”

“Coal,” it stresses, “is the biggest pollutant among the energy sources. It emits carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.”

These, the petition underscores, are “silent killers as they pose hazards to health and [the] environment.”

Among its other claims are that coal is now “widely accepted as a global mistake.”

“In fact, the world’s major economies, i.e. Germany, China, US, Brazil are abandoning coal,” it reads.

Adverse effects

Because the DCMI plant site is located some 20 meters from the nearest residential area and 800 meters from the Buntod Marine Sanctuary, it may bring about several detrimental effects to the environment and the locals.

Among those named are threats to local food production, a local water crisis, the destruction of the area’s mangrove system, disturbance of the ocean ecosystem, and an increase in the ambient or natural temperature in the immediate vicinity.

Pollution not only in the town of Mobo, but also in Masbate City and other municipalities of the province may also occur, says the petition.

Business, not service

Meanwhile, the petition also alleges that the DCMI is interested in business and not service. “The DMCI is a sister company of Semirara Coal Mining Corporation in Antique. They ventured into power generation obviously to make use of their coal products,” the petition states.
“The DMCI has no track record on coal power generation, therefore this initiative is purely is a pilot/test project. The DMCI has no credibility in their assertion. All [these] are mere theories and [parts of the] ‘wish lists’ of the company,” it further reads.

Supporters

As of press time, the petition has 107 supporters.

Among them are Miles Maxilum, who wrote, ““No to coal.. and yes to solar power mas malaki kasi ang pakinabang namin sa solar at makakatipid ang gobyerno in a long run.”

“First and foremost the welfare and health safety of the people of entire Masbate Province is of paramount concern by the undersigned,” Anastacio Geñorga posted.

Supporter Ofelia Lebanto also added that the coal has serious health effects, including respiratory health problems, congestive heart failure, chronic bronchitis, and a reduction in life expectancy, among others.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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