Bishop chides Villar for backing coal plant in Negros

Bishop chides Villar for backing coal plant in Negros

By CBCP News

May 10, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop has chided reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar for supporting the construction of coal-fired power plants in Negros Occidental.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said it was the least he expected from Villar, who chairs the Senate committee on environment and natural resources.

“We are strongly disappointed with the Senator’s statement throwing support for the proposed coal-fired power plant,” Alminaza said.

The bishop said the lawmaker “merely echoes the lies” sold to the public by the project’s proponents and its supporters in the government.

The senator was in Victoria City on May 7 for the inauguration of a biomass power plant.

At a press conference, Villar said that coal is attractive for poor countries like the Philippines because they produce cheaper electricity.

She said it’s about time for the country to study new technology that will make coal more acceptable like in the US.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Global Power is planning to install a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.

Bishop Alminaza said that Villar’s position only showed her “gross ignorance and incompetence” and her “lack of foresight, vision and care for the environment”.

“And there is no such a thing as ‘clean coal,’” he said.

The prelate also said that Villar is “out of touch” for saying that coal plants are in countries where there are high prices of electricity.

He cited the case of Iloilo which has at least three coal-fired power plants but has one of the most expensive power rates in the country.

The bishop also refuted the senator, saying that coal plants have already been closed in many places in the US, Germany and other European countries.