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La Union coal plant faces Church opposition

La Union coal plant faces Church opposition

This July 2018 file photo shows various groups gather in San Fernando City, La Union to protest the planned coal-fired power plant to be built in Luna town. PHOTO COURTESY OF DIANE MENDOZA ORPILLA

By Roy Lagarde

February 8, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic diocese has urged the government to drop its plan to construct an P80-billion coal-fired power plant in La Union province.

Bishop Daniel Presto of San Fernando diocese expressed concern that the project will negatively impact on the health of locals and the environment.

He said those temporary economic benefits are not an acceptable trade-off for long-term degradation of the environment.

“We could not in conscience recommend said plan,” Presto said in a manifesto read in all masses in the diocese recently.

The 670-megawatt plant project will be built in a 41-hectare property across the coastal villages of Carisquis and Nalvo Sur in Luna town.

In October 2018, the project’s proponent, Global Luzon Energy Development Corp., has obtained an environmental compliance certificate from the government.

Presto also warned that the project “would further the gap” between the rich and the poor and would cause higher electricity rate.

Instead of job opportunities, he said that it would also deprive the marginalized their only source of livelihood and will have a negative impact on the local tourism industry.

“The promised benefits are plain deceptions,” he asserted.

As alternative, the church encouraged the exploration of other ways of cheaper sources of energy.

“We still have time to overcome our failures in the past, convert from our sins against creation due to abuse, misuse or overuse,” Presto said.