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Green groups ask PRRD to end coal

AS part of the National Day of Action Against Coal, sustainable energy advocates, led by the Power for People Coalition (P4P) and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), on Friday attempted to march to Mendiola to bring their calls for a coal moratorium to President Rodrigo Duterte but were stopped by the Philippine National Police from entering the historic street.

P4P has called for an end to the use of coal over the years, citing its emission and pollution which drives climate change, a call echoed in the mobilization’s slogan, ‘coal fuels disasters.’

“We have been making this call for years. We’ve heard President Duterte commit to more renewable energy in his SONA. We heard the DOE say they want renewable energy. We even heard DOE say they want a coal moratorium. But all that has happened so far is the proliferation of coal. And now we had a succession of devastating typhoons which has pushed our country’s and people’s resilience to the limit. We must move to end coal and limit its effect on climate change, and do it now,” said Gerry Arances, P4P Convenor.

Upon the declaration of the DOE of a coal moratorium late in October, P4P held that the announcement should result in the non-issuance of any new Certificates of Endorsement, eventual cancellation of existing ones, and start of the decommissioning process for existing plants.

“While PMCJ acknowledges the coal moratorium as unprecedented in DOE’s energy policy, we are not given assurance that all 13.8 GW composed of 23 coal plants in the pipeline will not be constructed. With the recent devastation caused by a series of five typhoons, DOE must now move to cancel these projects and declare the phaseout period not later than 2030 of the existing 9.88 GW of coal. We are now in a climate emergency. All these plants must be stopped and replaced with clean, affordable renewables,” said Ian Rivera, National Coordinator of PMCJ.

The action was participated in by communities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao which host coal-fired power plants, where residents suffer from the pollution and health issues which can be traced to the plants’ smokestacks. P4P hopes that this would bring the message home not just to the President and Department of Energy, but to the people.

“The damage from Rolly, Ulysses, and all the others have long been predicted by scientists, but these predictions were ignored by various administrations in the name of convenience. The time has come to demand accountability and for the government to act in the best interests of its citizens,” said Arances.