ILOILO CITY – In the celebration of Earth Day, the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC-Iloilo) has once again highlighted its calls addressed to both the national and local governments, and key government agencies, such as; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Energy (DoE) to abandon its power development projects which aggravates climate change. 

The national government has picked “Earth Survival: Climate Change Solutions” as the theme for this year’s Earth Day celebration.

In a statement submitted to the media, FDC said that “if the Philippine government is indeed sincere in putting in place solutions to climate change for the sake of earth’s survival, it has to abandon power projects that pose danger to the environment and people’s health like the establishment of coal-fired power plants and the re-opening of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.”

“Climate change is one of the many reasons why FDC-Iloilo is opposing the proposed 165-MW coal-fired power plants being pushed by Metrobank-Global Business Power Corporation in Brgy. Ingore, La Paz district in Iloilo City and the D.M. Consunji’s 100-MW in the town of Concepcion,” added by FDC-Iloilo.  

The group stated that “this is also one of the points it raised in its appeal addressed to the Ilonggo legislators urging them to withdraw support to the proposed re-commissioning of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.”

“We believe that these projects poses grave danger to the environment, as such, it compromises the survival of the earth,“ said FDC-Iloilo.

According to the group, “coal is the main culprit of global warming and climate change. While it is popularly considered as a cheap fuel for electricity generation; it is the most carbon-intensive among fossil-fuels and responsible of one-third of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions.”

It further emphasized that “the damage that coal could cause to the environment and human health is beyond measure for it exacerbates air and water pollution.”

On the other hand, “nuclear power plant operation could also cause deaths of innocent children,” said FDC.  
It shared the findings of the “2007 German study by Kaatsch, Spix, et.al., which states that of the 593 childhood leukemia cases  from 1980-2003, it was found out that children residing nearby operating nuclear plants has higher risk of leukemia.”

Further, FDC also cited “a 2003 review by Chang, Dave, et.al., also points out that nuclear plants in the United States reveal “a consistent pattern of childhood cancer incidence in all study areas <30 mi from nuclear plants in the eastern U.S.”

“The threat being posed by climate change to both the earth and human survival is real. As such, we urge the Philippine government to make a consistent stand on the issue and institute concrete effort on the international instruments it has signed in combating climate change,” points out by FDC.

FDC criticized that “so far what it has done are token initiatives. The DENR under Sec. Lito Atienza, for instance, is spearheading activities on environmental sustainability but it is also the key agency responsible for issuing permits to coal-fired plant applications all over the country in spite of the opposition expressed by host communities.”   

“The same is true with the DoE. While Sec. Angelo Reyes portrays the DoE as champion of clean and renewable energy; it is also the main agency that pushes for the establishment of coal-fired power plants. The nine coal-fired plants now in the pipeline of DoE no less illustrates this double-talk,” stressed by FDC.

According to FDC, “two of the nine coal-fired power plants are being targeted for construction in Panay and has been issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate by the DENR – a 100-MW in Concepcion town and a 165-MW in Iloilo City.”

Moreover, the Ilonggo advocates for the mainstreaming of clean and renewable energy sources in Congress have likewise taken contradictory position by signing HB 4631, a bill that proposes the re-commissioning of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

“This could provide a setback to the gains brought about by environmental protection efforts implemented already. For this reason, we also challenge our Ilonggo representatives to make consistent stand for the environment and Mother Earth,” averred by FDC.

All the Ilonggo representatives have signed HB 4631, namely; Raul Gonzalez Jr. (Lone District, Iloilo City), Janette Garin (1st District Iloilo), Judy Syjuco (2nd District, Iloilo), Arthur Defensor (3rd District, Iloilo), Ferjenel Biron (4th District, Iloilo), and Niel Tupas Jr. (5th District, Iloilo).

“Our national and local governments together with our legislators and key government agencies must end its hypocrisy and should sincerely initiate programs that can mitigate the impacts of climate change, foremost of which is by abandoning its environmentally compromising projects on power generation,” encouraged by FDC.

“As we celebrate Earth Day, we urge our government to end its hypocrisy and instead initiate effort on how we could collectively address the impact of climate change,” concluded FDC. -30-  

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