Citing adverse health and environmental impacts, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)-Cebu filed a petition on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, before the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), formalizing their objection to the planned fossil gas or liquified natural gas (LNG) power plants in the cities of Cebu and Naga.
The PMCJ-Cebu and representatives of its partner communities in the cities of Cebu and Naga also plan to lodge the same petition to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Energy (DOE), Cebu City Hall and Naga City Hall officials on Tuesday.
The group is urgently requesting government offices to deny all permit applications by fossil gas project proponents in these cities.
Teody Navea, PMCJ-Cebu chapter convener, said they mainly oppose the intention to build a 300-megawatt (MW) LNG in Cebu City and a 150-megawatt LNG in Naga.
The city government, last September 2022, shortly after a four-day investment begging of Mayor Michael Rama in Manila, announced in a press conference that Terra Movers Development and US-based Westfield Resources may build a LNG plant that could provide about 300 megawatts of power not just to the city but also to Cebu Province.
Lack of social acceptability
Moreover, the group maintained that Aboitiz Power is planning to construct a 150-megawatt LNG by 2026, to be sited adjacent to its existing diesel-fired power plant in Barangay Colon, City of Naga.
'Naay mga kisaw diri sa probinsya, particularly sa Cebu City, nga ang supposedly napakyas sa (barangay) Sawang-Calero ngacoal-fired powerplant, they are now geared towards building a natural gas plant diri sa Sawang-Calero. That's one. So, medyo alarmed mi niana,' he said.
'Naa nay mga initiative nga nahitabo sa mga barangay, nag-unify na sa mga tawo in relation sa pagmugna og planta. This time around, ilang gilihok karon ang ilang kakulangan sa una nganong wala madayon to ang coal power plant,' he added.
CDN Digital has yet to get the side of the two private companies involved as of this writing.
Navea said that one of the basis for the rejection of the proposed 300-MW coal power plant in Barangay Sawang-Calero in 2016 was the lack of social acceptability of the project.
Navea said the PMCJ-Cebu is against these projects as these allegedly put LNG host communities at the risk of abnormal high levels of respiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases.
Sought for comment, the office of Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, chairman of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, Energy, and other utilities, said they will address the matter once they receive a copy of the said petition.
Likewise, the DOH-7, through the head of its Health Education and Promotion Officer Ligaya Moneva, said this issue will be addressed by the agency the soonest time.
'This can be brought up to our execom (executive committee) for proper discussion. Much so, that this is really involving environment, which is one also of the priority health areas of the Universal Health Care. Although, there will be other agencies involved, DOH will be more concerned with the ill-effects and the results if ever,' she said.