‘Deep concern’ over coal power plant in Palawan

‘Deep concern’ over coal power plant in Palawan

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa (right) joins in planting trees on Mount Mantalingahan in southern Palawan, May 9, 2019. PHOTO FROM AVPPC

By Katya A. Santos

July 29, 2019

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

The looming of coal-fired power plant on the frontier island of Palawan is of “deep concern”, a Catholic bishop has warned.

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa said the government needs to reassess the project because such facility may have negative than good effects.

“We appeal for a reconsideration of the same to balance economic progress with integrity of creation and the common welfare of our community,” Mesiona said.

“Since Palawan has been vastly considered as a beautiful island and ‘The Last Frontier’, it demands from us in a more serious call, to take care of our God-given ecological home,” he said.

The bishop was reacting to the grant of an environmental compliance certificate for a 15 GW coal plant in Palawan, also known as the country’s “last ecological frontier”.

DMCI plans to build the facility in the town of Narra as part of its 25-mw contract with the Palawan Electric Cooperative.

For environmental groups building the coal plant would be a mistake, considering that such project is already being shut down in other countries.

“We also call on stakeholders to look into it from the vantage point of a long-term effect, on the basis of objective truth and the common good,” Mesiona said.

He added that they are hoping for a leadership and an entrepreneurship that promotes “total well-being of he people as weightier than any kind of gains”.

“Hence, fraternal dialogue and transparency must be enhanced in an effective manner,” the bishop also said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier called for “ecological conversion” and act together to mitigate the ill effects of climate change.

In a pastoral letter on “climate emergency”, they outlined the issues facing the country, among them the irresponsible mining, the building dams, and the growing dependence on fossil fuel-based energy, such as coal.

The bishops also urged transition to safe, clean and affordable renewable sources of energy such solar power.

In November 2018 to May this year, Bishop Mesiona led an initiative to plant more than 10,000 trees at the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in southern Palawan, as a response to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si encyclical. CBCPNEWS