Palawan NGOs not giving up fight to stop DMCI coal-fired power plant

interphoto_1433811906PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines — Despite having been cleared by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, environmental and civil society groups are not giving up the fight to stop the construction of a coal-fired power plant in the western Philippine province often described as the country’s last frontier.

The Palawan NGO Network Inc., the largest umbrella group of nongovernmental organizations in the province, filed a motion for reconsideration with the PCSD Friday last week asking the body to set aside the clearance it issued to the 15-megawatt power plant of Consunji-owned DMCI Power Corp.

The motion asks the Council to review the process of approving the proposed project, specifically the conduct of an environmental impact assessment, as well as the scheduling for public discussions and the referendum with individual vote explanation done by the council.

PNNI’s representative to the PCSD, Sister Mae Juanitas, pointed out in the motion that the process by which the project was approved “violates the Participatory Processes and is deprived of Social Acceptability,” two principles enshrined in Republic Act 7611, or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan, the law that created the Council.

”When notices of meeting were sent less than 24 hours from its approval, for a project that was not even in the energy master plan of the province, has no EIA for its new site, by-passes the ECAN (Environmentally Critical Areas Network) board currently hearing the issue, and did not undergo public hearing in the council, the same is not participatory and is bereft of social acceptability” the motion said.


Lawyer Robert Chan, PNNI executive director, told that they filed the motion just in time for it to be scheduled for the PCSD’s 220th council meeting, which also marks the 23rd anniversary of the SEP Law on June 19 and which top national officials are expected to attend.

Chan said protests will also be held on that day to show the overwhelming opposition of the communities to be affected by the power plant and the lack of social acceptability of the project.

The Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy, on the other hand, reiterated its call for Palaweños to write letter-petitions to government officials to protest what it called the “mockery of laws and processes.”

Palaweños living abroad have also weighed in on the issue, backing the opposition to the coal-fired power plant.

The Facebook page of the No to Coal Plant in Palawan Movement has received pledges from overseas Palaweños who have expressed dissent and frustration over the project.

According to Palaweña Facebook user Bing Gruenthaler, who now lives in Germany, this is their way of showing their support to the cause even if they cannot be in the forefront of the fight physically.

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