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Coal fired power plants, Batangas, Philippines


Description:

As reported in 2015 [5], Amen (or the Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment) is not saying amen to the 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant (CFPP) that JG Summit Corp. plans to build in Barangay Pinamucan Ibaba in Batangas City. Amen and the No to Coal-Fired Power Plant Coalition are leading the citizens’ protest. Coal is among the dirtiest sources of energy. The furor over the proposed CFPP in Palawan has not drowned out the Batangueños’ own protest against a similar threat to their domain. Being a favorite tourist destination and the so-called last frontier of ecological diversity, Palawan has been getting a lot of attention. But Batangas City protest actions are gathering steam of their own. Fr. Dakila “Dak” M. Ramos, coordinator of the coalition and director of Amen, wrote to Batangas City Mayor Eddie Dimacuha so that he wouldstand firm against the project that would dramatically change the city’s coastal landscape. Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles gave his support to the protest. The mayor said he has forwarded the letter to the City Council. The archbishop’s letter to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been acknowledged.Those against the CFPP have Church pronouncements, scientific findings and legal arguments to back their vehement stand.

In Batangas, south of Manila, in April 2015 about 300 Catholic priests led by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles held a prayer rally before proceeding to a committee hearing called by the Batangas city council to discuss issuing a location permit for the project. [1] Arguelles reiterated the Church’s position that generating power from coal, known to be one of the dirtiest fossil fuels and biggest sources of carbon dioxide, poses a great threat to the environment and human health.[2]. In February 2015, the priests had also led a “prayer walk” attended by some 3,000 people. They have been campaigning against the coal-fired power plant through their churches. On May 4, 2016, around 10,000 people marched in Batangas City to express their opposition to the project. Greenpeace described in August 2017 the complaints as follows [1][3]. "The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) held a public hearing on the proposed coal-fired power plant project of Merbau Corporation, a subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. Civil society organizations, including Greenpeace, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Health Care Without Harm, and the Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEn) joined Batangas local groups and community members in voicing their opposition to the project. The coal project in question is the same facility that 10,000 people protested against in 2016, under the global banner of Break Free From Fossil Fuels. In support of Batangas communities opposing the project, Yeb Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said: “Batangas province does not need any new coal-fired power plants. The whole country does not need any new coal plant. The writing is on the wall – coal plants bring along with them a host of problems that include adverse health burdens for the local communities and dangerous pollution of the air, land, and water - in the entire value chain of coal.” 

The 2016 Greenpeace report “Coal: A Public Health Crisis,” which was based on a study conducted together with Harvard University, estimates that 2,400 Filipinos are dying from coal-related air pollution every year. “We have said, time and again, that coal projects are highly questionable in this day and age when renewables are more economically competitive and have much less environmental impacts. It gives us reason to think that proponents of coal-fired power plants are just out there for short-term profit at the long-term expense of communities and the environment,“ Saño added.

The anti-coal march of 2016 highlighted a national campaign called “Piglas Batangas! Piglas Pilipinas!” symbolized by the struggle against the proposed 600-megawatt coal plant of JG Summit Holdings in Barangay (Village) Pinamucan Ibaba, Batangas City. The opposition to the plan is led by the Lipa Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment, local fisherfolk, and other concerned citizens. “Even without the coal plant, the existing plants of JG Summit are already poisoning our air, water, and land. The proposed coal plant would only make it harder for us to breathe, much less fish,” said 27-year-old Reymond Mendoza, a fisherman from the nearby barangay of Simlong, which also hosts the Gokongwei family-owned complex. The complex has a petrochemical and naphtha cracker plant.

The local anti-coal groups were joined by other coal-affected communities from Quezon and other parts of the country, as well as people’s movements and civil society groups from Metro Manila and other provinces in Southern Luzon.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Coal fired power plants, Batangas, Philippines
Country:Philippines
State or province:Calabarzon region in Luzon
Location of conflict:Batangas city, Batangas province
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Electricity
Coal

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The proposal is by JG Summit Holdings Inc. for four 150-megawatt coal plants on a 20-hectare site in Barangay Pinamucan Ibaba. The plant would be adjacent to JG Summit's Batangas petrochemical plant.

The project went through a permitting process in 2013-14, and received an initial permit from the Department of Energy in July 2014.

In June 2016 the Bantagas City Council voted 7-4 to approve zoning clearance for the project inside the city's heavy industrial zone.

As of September 2016, the project was listed as being in an "advanced stage of development," and was in financial discussions with potential lenders.[4] As of February 2017, the project still had some permits outstanding, and was still seeking funding.

Start of the conflict:2015
Company names or state enterprises:JG Summit Holdings Inc from Philippines
Relevant government actors:Batangas city council
DENR
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Catholic Church (Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEN)
Greenpeace
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
Health Care Without Harm

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIn this case, there is preventive activity from the Philippines campaign against coal dust, respiratory illnesses [4]
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights

Outcome

Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The struggle to prevent the building of the coal fired power plants in Batangas began in 2015-17.

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Batangueños vs planned coal-fired power plant. By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo - @inquirerdotnet. Philippine Daily Inquirer / June 04, 2015
http://opinion.inquirer.net/85480/batanguenos-vs-planned-coal-fired-power-plant

[2]The Inquirer, Southern Luzon, Maricar Cinco. 1 May 2015.
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/688636/batangas-priests-lead-fight-vs-coal-fired-power-plant#ixzz4w2w1IWn5

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[1] Source Watch, Batangas power station
https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Batangas_power_station

[3] Greenpeace statement on the proposed coal plant in Batangas City. Press release - August 10, 2017
http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/ph/press/releases/Greenpeace-statement-on-the-proposed-coal-plant-in-Batangas-City/

[4] Coal: A Public Health Crisis. Diseases and deaths attributed to coal use in the Philippines. February 2, 2016
http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/ph/press/reports/Coal-A-Public-Health-Crisis/

Meta information

Contributor:JMA
Last update18/08/2019

Images

 

Public event against coal