5 govs seek recall of ECC of coal plant


By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau
First Posted 07:16:00 10/13/2008

ILOLO CITY—Five governors of Western Visayas have asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to revoke the environment certificate of compliance (ECC) issued to a coal-fired plant project here, citing its alleged threats to the environment and health.

In a letter to the President dated Oct. 6, Antique Gov. Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez, chair of the Regional Development Council, asked for Ms Arroyo’s intervention in blocking the project.

“We, the governors of Region 6 with the mandate of our constituents, bring to you the clamor of our people to have a future free from the menace of environmental degradation,” Perez said.

The letter was accompanied by a Sept. 21 manifesto declaring opposition to the coal plant project. The signatories were Governors Perez, Carlito Marquez of Aklan, Victor Tanco Sr. of Capiz, Felipe Nava of Guimaras and Isidro Zayco of Negros Occidental.

Only Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas Sr. did not sign the manifesto. Tupas, along with Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas, has endorsed the project, citing the need of residents and investors for stable power.

On Sept. 1, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued an ECC to Panay Power Corp. and the Metrobank-subsidiary Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) for the construction of a 164-megawatt coal plant in Barangay Ingore in La Paz District.

The project is among the long-time measures being pushed to address the power supply problem of Iloilo and the rest of Panay Island.

Environment Secretary Jose “Lito” Atienza Jr. earlier said the DENR would closely monitor the construction of the coal plant to ensure compliance with 14 conditions stipulated in the ECC.

These include the putting up of a Continuous Emission Monitoring System, which records real-time emissions. The information should be made available to the public.

But the governors said the project would pose risks to the health of those living and working in the city and could cause air, land and water pollution.

“We are in conscience disturbed by the DENR’s approval of the ECC to GBPC Iloilo City. As leaders of the family of provinces in Region 6, we are morally obliged to present this sentiment in behalf of our constituents and we, therefore, strongly petition the national leadership to recall and revoke the ECC,” their manifesto said.

They said they were “not totally” against the plant because they said they saw the need for additional power supply. But situating it within the city “puts (to) risk the health and lives not only of residents of Iloilo City but also thousands of students, workers, employees who reside in Iloilo City coming from the provinces of Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Capiz and Aklan,” they said.(PDI)

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