Archive for the ‘coal-fired power plant’ Category

2 coal plants to rise soon in Subic

September 7, 2008

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority has issued an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to a company that is part of a joint venture which has proposed to build two 150-megawatt coal-fired power plants at the Subic Bay Freeport.

This was learned from former Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II who furnished the Inquirer a copy of the ECC issued to the Taiwan Cogeneration International Corp., a partner of the Aboitiz Energy in the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RPEI), the project’s proponent.

The ECC was issued on April 4 this year.

“The proponent was not known to have held public consultations before that date and yet, SBMA issued it an ECC. We have never been informed that it was issued an ECC,” he said, adding that his copy was obtained from an SBMA source.

SBMA ecology chief Amethya dela Llaka-Koval did not answer the Inquirer’s request to confirm the ECC.

DENR review

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said the ECC is “still subject to the review and validation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources” since it is an environmentally critical project.

Arreza said Lacbain was “not accurate” in saying that no public hearings were held.

Hearings, he said, were held for investors and residents of the freeport.

The project’s site is in Sitio Naglatore in Barangay Cawag in Subic town, which is still within the jurisdiction of the SBMA, he said.

The DENR, he said, has ordered the holding of public hearings in Subic town and Olongapo City.

Oscar Cabayanan, Central Luzon director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, on Friday said he does not have any information yet if the Environmental Management Bureau central office has issued an ECC to the project.

RPEI Director Miguel Aboitiz on Wednesday confirmed that the SBMA had given it an ECC.


Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr. and the city council have objected to the plan of RPEI to build and operate the coal-fired power plants.

A resolution, approved by the council on Aug. 27 and approved by Gordon on Aug. 28, cited environmental safety and public health as bases for turning down the project.

Gordon and the council urged the RPEI instead to “consider safer alternative sources of energy for Subic Bay.”

“The proponents… assure relatively low emission and the lowest environmental impact possible. Even so it does not discount the fact that harmful emissions will definitely affect lives and the livelihood of communities in the next 50 years. There must be no tolerable and acceptable levels of pollution so as not to compromise the health and welfare of the environment and the communities,” the resolution said.
Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

Editorial Cartoon: (Coal-Fired Power Plant) Coal Bomb

August 25, 2008

DENR is going to blast Iloilo

Coal-fired power firm plans carbon sink

July 16, 2008

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 July) – Thai-Filipino joint venture firm Conal Holdings Corporation and the local government of Maasim in Sarangani province have agreed to jointly develop a 10,000-hectare carbon dioxide sink or reservoir in preparation for the planned construction of a 200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in the area.

Coal is considered as the dirtiest fuel, and environment groups have been campaigning for its banning as an energy source.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Conal Holdings and Maasim committed to reforest, rehabilitate and develop Maasim’s vast brushlands, grasslands and forestlands for the establishment of a natural carbon sink for the company’s coal-fired power plant, which will be built starting next year at the coastal village of Kamanga.

“Conal is committed to support the development of tree farms, small scale agro-forestry systems and tree plantations as carbon sink with the different tenure holders and legitimate forest occupants in the forestlands of Maasim,” the MOU said.

Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. and Conal Holdings Vice President Joseph Nocos signed the MOU, which was finalized last June 21.

Conal Holdings, a joint venture of the Alcantara family’s Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. and Thailand’s Egko, earlier announced that it will invest at least $450 million for the development of the Kamanga Power Plant in Maasim.

Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez’ mother is an Alcantara.

The Kamanga Power Plant project aims to initially generate 200 MW of electricity and help stabilize the Mindanao power grid by 2011, with two incremental expansions of 350 MW over a period of 15 years.

In the MOU, a copy of which was obtained by MindaNews last Friday, Conal Holdings acknowledged that the proposed coal-fired power plant “will emit greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere that may pollute the air and contribute to global warming.”

To help counter this problem, the company is banking on the development of the carbon sink in the area and the utilization of the circulating fluidized bed combustion technology, which reportedly reduces pollutant emissions to levels below ceilings set by Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999.

It stressed that Conal Holdings is committed to support the national government’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rolando Tubales, Maasim environment and natural resources officer, said the development of the carbon sink is a requirement for the operation of coal-fired power plants under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nation’s Agenda 21 program for sustainable development.

“Studies showed that one of the most effective measures to sequester carbon emission is the planting of trees,” he told MindaNews.

Tubales said Conal Holdings and the municipal government plan to develop at least 10,000 hectares as carbon sink, but he stressed that the area will be expanded within the next several years.

He said Maasim currently has an available open area of about 44,000 hectares, which are within the declared public lands in the area.

He said at least 91 percent of Maasim’s total land area of 51,107 hectares is classified as public lands.

The official said the development of the carbon sink will be based on the provisions of Maasim’s four-year old municipal Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP).

He said the local government is currently implementing the FLUP with the tenure holders of legitimate forest and forestlands.

Under the MOU, Conal Holdings and the local government of Maasim also committed to “collaborate and share their human, technical, material and financial resources in the formulation and development of specific terms of agreement that will govern the establishment, management, protection and sharing arrangement of the carbon sink.”

They will also spearhead the creation of a technical working group that will be tasked to formulate the terms of a memorandum of agreement that will specify the establishment, development, management and sharing agreements of the tree farms, small scale agro forestry systems and tree plantations that will be covered by the carbon sink by the end of September.

Conal Holdings and the local government of Maasim are targeting to transform the MOU into a MOA before the end of the year or upon the approval and endorsement of the municipal council and the Sarangani provincial board. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)


June 17, 2008

We are stewards of this earth, God’s earth, we are not the absolute owners of this earth. We are caretakers, custodians and stewards of this earth – whether it is here in Antique or there in Panay.

Whatever is your position in society, an ordinary member of civil society or an official of Government or plain user of the environment, you are challenged to leave behind a legacy for this earth, a legacy that the earth has become better or has lessened the earth’s problem, and not a legacy of destruction.

One of our concerns, we are told, is power shortage. There is discussion going on as to the cause of power shortage: is it real shortage or power crisis? Or is it caused by management crisis? Or even worse, is it caused by leadership crisis? Study shows that we have surplus power in Panay until 2010. But there would be gradual shortage of power in 2011.

You here in Antique with the launching of Villasiga and Guianon – San Ramon Mini Hydro Project are leading the way. Congratulations to your Governor who is also the Chairperson of Regional Development Council, the Honorable Sally Z. Perez. You are one step ahead of a future problem. And you are using renewable energy, hydro or water, which is environment and people friendly. It is conceived that by harnessing hydro-renewable energy in this project you will have enough electric power to light the entire province of Antique. Together with the investors, you are impacting a legacy for the province.

I agree with the sentiments expressed by environmentalist, technical groups, scientists, as well as those in the medical profession. We cannot support those who propose the establishment of coal plants anywhere in Panay as we would be party to the commission of the SOCIAL SIN of polluting our environment and putting at risk the health of our communities. We strongly advocate for sustainable solutions – the harnessing of God–given energy from water, wind and sun. We shall support only those who propose renewable energy projects.

Here in Antique water resources are found in the rivers of Sibalom, Valderrama, Tibiao, Culasi and Patnongon. In Panay, God has gifted us with water to harness for electricity in San Joaquin, Igbaras, Lambunao, Maasin, Barotac Viejo, Lemery, Leon, Janiuay and Miag-ao. The big question and challenge is why waste money on importing expensive coals from other countries? Knowing the Filipino propensity for short-cuts and ningas-cogon, the cleanest coal will come out polluting Panay.

Antique is leading the way. We would like the Secretary of DENR, the Honorable Lito Atienza and the Secretary of DOE, the Honorable Angelo Reyes to please reserve Panay or Western Visayas for renewable energy of water, wind and sun for electric power.

The seven bishops of Western Visayas and Romblon in a Pastoral Letter last January 16, 2005 have already expressed their objection to the entry of coal-fired power plants.

We are challenging the leadership in Panay to leave a clean legacy for the province. Clean Coal is a misnomer, a myth. Coal is a pollutant of the environment, its effects in the air and water have been proven to cause asthma, cardiac problems, upper and lower respiratory tract problems. Pollution from dirty power plants kills more people every year than drunk drivers and murderers. The elderly the children and those with respiratory diseases are more severely impacted by this pollution. Coal plants contribute greatly in global warming. Let us not condemn the future of young Filipinos who will blame us without end for having cared less for their future.

Antique is leading the way. Thank you for showing Panay the way.

Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
June 5, 2008

Editorial Cartoon: The Pro-Environment

June 15, 2008

Tsk! Gago!


June 15, 2008

ILOILO City – Greenpeace activists from different countries, including the crew of Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, and members of Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy (RISE) established a “climate defenders camp” at the site of a proposed coal-fired plant coal in Brgy. Ingore, La Paz district.

They are demanding the cancellation of the plant and calling on the Senate to fast track the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives, to pave the way for ambitious renewable energy developments in the country and make any notion of new coal redundant.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has given strong backing for the construction of the 165-megawatt coal plant. But Greenpeace warned it will contribute to climate change and contaminate local communities.

“A coal plant does not and must not have any business in Iloilo nor the Philippines anymore. We want clean, renewable energy to power the development of the city and our country. The entire Western Visayas should be made a development model for renewable energy,” said Melvin Pursuelo, convener of RISE.

The camp consists of a tower and tents on a seaside area previously used for fish ponds but now allocated for the coal plant.

Banners with messages saying “Quit Coal, Save the Climate” and “Coal Causes Climate Change” are hung around the camp, located a few kilometers away from the center of the city.

Since yesterday, Greenpeace activists staying in the camp have been transmitting messages and images of the protest to a global audience and seek support to stop the proposed coal-fired power plant.

The camp aims to step up public opposition to the proposed coal plant and is meant to be a hub for local communities and groups who are against it.

It also serves as a center for Greenpeace’s public awareness campaign about the ill-effects of coal-fired power plants, climate change and its dangerous impacts, and solutions such as renewable energy.

The construction of the camp, as well as the set up of the Greenpeace-Solar Generation Solar Café at Brgy. Ingore, has caught the attention of the coal-fired power plant proponents Panay Power Corp. and Global Business Power Corp. (a subsidiary of Metrobank), who would like to see the camp dismantled.

Yesterday morning, the police set up a checkpoint, inspecting pro-environment supporters, students, bikers and the Solar Café team.

In Manila on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Renewable Energy Resources Act, which seeks to promote the development, utilization and commercialization of renewable energy in the Philippines.

The passage of the Act is a significant milestone in a country where community opposition to coal power plants is surging due to concerns about climate change and pollution.

Recently, leading political figures have also voiced strong opposition to coal plants, backed our call for the country to “Quit Coal” and supported clean renewable energy developments.

The governor of Albay province, an area recently hit by disastrous typhoons and mudslides, declared the province a coal-free zone, in addition to Negros Occidental which has already adopted a path towards a 100 percent renewable energy. Meanwhile, Senators Miguel Zubiri and Pia Cayetano expressed support for our “Quit Coal” campaign and a shift to renewable energy.

“The Senate must pass the Renewable Energy Bill. The present situation demands that the government quickly and radically improve energy efficiency, deal with the problems of energy distribution and develop the renewable energy market. We have to do it now while the country sits on 54 percent over-capacity for electricity generation and a huge renewable energy potential. The threat of climate impacts to the entire country should be enough to spur the government to mitigate and adapt, starting with the cancellation of new coal power plant projects,” said Jasper Inventor, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

A new study has revealed that the Philippines has a renewable energy potential of more than 200,000 megawatts from a combination of geothermal, wind, solar, biomass and mini-hydro – more than five times the country’s current energy demand.

Most of the renewable energy potential is yet to be tapped because of the absence of an investment and development framework and delays by the Arroyo government in passing the Renewable Energy Bill.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the Greenpeace “Quit Coal Tour” in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Greenpeace aims to promote an energy revolution to stop climate change, which includes phasing out the use of climate-damaging coal and rejecting nuclear power, and calls for a massive uptake of renewable energy./PN

NPA raids coal mine in Negros Occidental

June 11, 2008

By Carla Gomez
Visayas Bureau
First Posted 10:36pm (Mla time) 06/09/2008

BACOLOD CITY – The military alleged on Sunday that the New People’s Army raided a coal mine in Calatrava town, Negros Occidental and burned its equipment after its owners allegedly failed to pay revolutionary taxes.

Maj. Nathaniel Villasor, 303rd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations chief, placed at P150,000 the damage to the equipment of a coal mine owned by former board member Fernando Leonor and Melvin Villamero.

Villasor said the raid on the coal mine was done simultaneously with the burning of three Tanduay Distillery Inc. delivery trucks at the Barcelona Port in Barangay Old Poblacion, Escalante City, on June 4.
The rebels, allegedly led by a certain Odot Danoso, took handheld radios and cellular phones of the mineworkers, who were not harmed, the military said.

Calatrava police chief Inspector Danilo Zuniega said on Sunday that the work at the mine site has been suspended.

The mine workers expressed their dismay at being temporarily displaced from work at the time classes were about to open, Zuniega said.
The military also advised the Calatrava police investigators not to proceed to the mining site as the 15th Infantry Battalion soldiers were still pursuing the suspects, Zuniega said.

Police placed the damages on the Tanduay delivery trucks and cargo allegedly burned by suspected rebels at the port of Escalante at P6 million.

Villasor said the series of incidents, including the liquidation of a former civilian volunteer organization and the attack on an Army detachment in Guihulngan, showed desperation on the part of the NPA rebels, after they lost their guerrilla bases in central Negros to the 11th Infantry Battalion.

Senior Supt. Rosendo Franco, provincial police director, urged the community to report the presence of strangers in their place to prevent more atrocities that would be committed by insurgents.

Capt. Lowen Gil Marquez, chief of the AFP Civil Relations Group in Western Visayas, said the incident at the port of Escalante could have been prevented if the liquor firm personnel had informed the military of the extortion letters they have received from the CPP-NPA.

Lt. Gen. Pedro Ike Insierto, AFP Central Command chief, who recently visited the 303rd Infantry Brigade headquarters in Barangay Minoyan, Murcia town, has ordered the military to pursue the suspects behind the simultaneous raids and destruction of properties in northern Negros.

Meanwhile, CPP spokesperson Gregorio Ka Roger Rosal hailed the NPA for its string of recent victories against government forces.

“With the government forces suffering more losses, the more they try to pursue their military offensives against the revolutionary forces, it is they and not the revolutionary forces who will be significantly weakened by the target end of their current counterinsurgency operational plan Bantay Laya II,” Rosal said in a statement released Sunday by the CPP’s Information Bureau, a copy of which was furnished the Inquirer.

Ka Roger said the most recent communist offensive against government forces was a lightning attack Saturday afternoon against a detachment of the Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion in south Mindanao’s Compostela Valley.

Rosal said the guerrillas quickly overpowered government militiamen manning the detachment and torched it down before leaving with the paramilitary forces’ 14 M1 Garand rifles.

The CPP spokesman also reported that NPA rebels also attacked another Army detachment in Sallapadan, Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Citing initial reports, Rosal claimed that five government soldiers were wounded in the firefight, including the detachment commander.
“The NPA also burned down the Army detachment after overrunning it,” he said.

With reports from Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon

Editorial Cartoon: Stopping the Fire

June 10, 2008

Here’s one reason for the AFP to link the environmental groups to the NPA.  Hehehehe…  Hay naku, pag di nila mahabol ang NPA, ang mga insente ang pagbabalingan.  Tsk!

Conal Holdings to build coal-fired plant in Maasim

June 8, 2008

Saturday, 07 June 2008 20:30
var sburl9396 = window.location.href; var sbtitle9396 = document.title;var sbtitle9396=encodeURIComponent(“Conal Holdings to build coal-fired plant in Maasim”); var sburl9396=decodeURI(“”); sburl9396=sburl9396.replace(/amp;/g, “”);sburl9396=encodeURIComponent(sburl9396);MAASIM, Sarangani (MindaNews/07 June) —  The Alcantara-controlled Conal Holdings Corporation will build its 200-megawatt, $450-million  coal-fired plant in this limestone-rich town that is also a favorite scuba diving spot.

Coal is one of the oldest sources of fossil fuel and when burned, produces energy but it also emits toxic gasses, such as carbon monoxide, when unchecked.

In a press statement, Gregorio S. Gonzales, Kamanga Power Plant general manager, said the company will use limestone to capture sulfur in the carbon that will fuel the plant. Sulfur, when mixed with limestone, will produce excellent material as additive to cement.

“With Maasim as a rich source of limestone, it is not remote that investors may build a cement plant in Maasim. Limestone is a major component of cement manufacturing,” Mr. Gonzales said.

The Alcantara Group is also a known player in the cement industry through the Alsons Cement Corp., majority of which was acquired by Holcim Philippines, Inc, said to be the country’s leading cement manufacturer.

Gonzales’s statement was not clear if he was referring to Holcim as among the cement investors who may come to Maasim.

Sarangani Gov. Rene Miguel A. Dominguez, whose mother is an Alcantara, earlier said the provincial government expects the coal-fired power plant to pull in the entry of other industrial investors.

The governor said they are hoping they can emulate the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in the area with the coal-fired power plant as the magnet.

But Fr. Romeo Catedral, social action director of the Diocese of Marbel, earlier said the priest assigned in Maasim is rallying the Catholic faithful against the coal-fired power plant project citing environmental and human health concerns.

“The information and education campaign (on the evils of the coal-fired power plant) is continuing especially at the level of the Basic Christian Communities,” Catedral said.

While conceding that the issues raised by the opposition are for real if the power plant is not built and maintained properly,

Gonzales said the company will employ technologies in accordance with Philippine laws, as he allayed fears the plant would be harmful to the people and their environment.

Nitrogen oxide emissions, for example, will be at a maximum of 150 milligram per normal cubic meter (mg/Nm3), a target which is way below the 1,000 mg/Nm3 set by Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act, he said.

Sulfur oxide emissions will also be set at 150 mg/Nm3 which is significantly below the 700 mg/Nm3 standard also set by the same law, he added.

The same is true with its carbon monoxide emissions (at 200 mg/Nm3 as opposed to the ceiling of 500 mg/Nm3). Particulate matters will be at 50 mg/Nm3, also below the 150 mg/Nm3 provided by RA 8749,  he said.

Gonzales, a mechanical engineer, said mercury emission in gaseous form will be strictly monitored not to exceed 0.02 mg/Nm3, also way below the 5mg/Nm3 volume set by the Clean Air Act of 1999.

The company is open to dialogues with groups opposing its venture, he said.

“We will always open our doors to everybody and anybody who have reservations and those who are opposed to the project. We have nothing to hide. And we will welcome suggestions on how to help protect the environment,” he said.

The Kamanga Power Plant project aims to initially generate 200 MW of electricity by 2011 with two incremental expansions of 350 MW over a period of 15 years.

Construction of the first phase will take three years and would employ at least 1,000 laborers and 300 regular workers during the operation stage, the statement said.

Mindanao has an existing generating capacity of 1,850.4 MW beginning 2008 but the dependable capacity is only 1,520 MW. Peak demand starting this year is projected to hit 1,440 MW.

Industry  regulations require the Mindanao Grid to maintain a reserve capacity of at least 23.4% of their generating capacity.

Peak demand for power supply by 2015 is expected to hit 1,750 MW but only the Sibulan 70MW Hydro Power Plant Project in Sta. Cruz, Davao is under construction.

“We expect power supply to become tighter and tighter over the next three years, edging towards a shortage 2012 onwards. This is the main objective of the Kamanga Power Plant project, to fill the gap between supply and demand,” Gonzales said.  (MindaNews)

Editorial Cartoon: Alin?

June 4, 2008

Choose wisely!

Greenpeace blocks coal unloading

May 24, 2008

THE Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior yesterday blocked coal shipments at the Pagbilao power plant in Quezon province in protest of the plant’s impending expansion.

The Rainbow Warrior anchored alongside the coal ship “Medi Firenze,” unloading a cargo of coal at the Pagbilao plant’s loading pier, and prevented a bigger shipment of coal from the 223-meter vessel “Sam John Spirit” standing by.

A giant banner that read “Quit Coal” on the Rainbow Warrior’s masts sought to drive home the message that the Philippine government should stop building and expanding coal-fired power plants.

“Being one of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, the Philippines should address climate change by immediately stopping the expansion and construction of new coal plants. The Philippines already produces 54 percent more power than it needs. We should invest in improving the power grid rather than expanding a coal plant that reduces our chances of preventing dangerous climate change,” Beau Baconguis, campaign manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said on board “Rainbow Warrior.”

Burning coal is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions and a major cause of climate change. Coal emits 29 percent more carbon per unit of energy than oil and 80 percent more than gas. The Philippines has been identified as the nation most affected by climate impacts in 2006 by the NGO GermanWatch.

Upon the arrival of the “Rainbow Warrior” last Thursday, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda declared his province a “no-coal zone.”

“The Philippine government should take Albay’s declaration as an urgent call to action against climate change. It is untenable to continue our dependence on coal given its increasing price in the market and the environmental impacts attached to it. Coal will actually exacerbate our energy insecurities,” said Jasper Inventor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia climate and energy campaigner.

Greenpeace said the Philippines should send a strong message to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to lead the way in phasing out the use of coal.

Environment ministers from G8 countries will meet today with climate change at the top of their agenda.

Greenpeace has called on G8 countries to take real action against climate change and deliver an Energy Revolution that makes coal the fuel of last resort.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the Philippines to spearhead the Greenpeace “Quit Coal Tour” in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

The tour aims to promote solutions to stop climate change and a massive shift to renewable energy. (Malaya)

Editorial Cartoon: Coal is Cool.

May 23, 2008

Real cool!

Editorial Cartoon: Bomb Maker

May 12, 2008

Environmental Terrorist

DOE to award new coal, geothermal contracts

May 12, 2008

Deals seen signed before end-May

MANILA, Philippines- -The Department of Energy will award within the month three geothermal service contracts and two coal operating contracts in areas offered under the 2006 Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR-3).

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said these new contracts should be signed within the next few weeks, most likely before the end of this month.

Under the PECR 2006, interested investors could bid for the right to explore and develop nine petroleum blocks, 14 coal prospects and three geothermal sites located all over the country.

For petroleum exploration, the DOE has identified nine areas spanning 71,357.3 square kilometers for development, including Cagayan, Central Luzon, two blocks in Mindoro-Cuyo, three blocks in East Palawan, Visayan Basin, and Agusan-Davao.

The DOE last week awarded five new petroleum service contracts to Miocene Mining and Energy Corp., Helios Petroleum and Gas Corp., Burgundy Global Exploration Corp. and NorAsian Energy Philippines Inc.

For the five service contracts, the four companies are expected to infuse up to $82.2 million in new investments, according to data from the DOE.

In 2005, only four oil and gas areas were offered to prospective investors.

For coal, the DOE during the PECR-3 offered 14 sites with a total resource potential of 421 million metric tons (MT) for exploration, development and production.

Each site will be composed of three blocks, with each block spanning 1,000 hectares.

These sites are located in Quezon, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental and Zamboanga Sibugay.

During the PECR 2005, no bidder qualified to get an operating contract for any of the seven areas offered.

For the geothermal sector, the DOE has pinpointed three areas for exploration, development and direct utilization for power generation and other geothermal applications.

These areas, with a combined potential of about 100 megawatts (MW), are located in Mabini in Batangas, Biliran in Biliran Province, and Amacan in Compostela Valley.

The Philippines is currently the world’s second biggest geothermal power producer with a total installed capacity of 1,931 MW.


Editorial Cartoon: Huwarang Ina Awardee

May 11, 2008

Huwad Na Ina

Editorial Cartoon: Light

May 10, 2008

And then there was light.

Immediate remedy for city power problem needed

May 10, 2008

IN THE power summit held recently, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said there is a need to solve the growing power problem in Iloilo City.

According to Reyes, possible power solutions should be opened following the rapid occurrence of rotating brownouts in the city, which greatly affected the business establishments.

On the other hand, National Power Corporation (NPC) President Cyril del Callar said that much electricity is consumed in Iloilo City during peak hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This high consumption often causes low voltage in some parts of the city as electricity becomes unevenly distributed.

During the conference, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and some members of the business sector mentioned the importance of putting up a coal-fired power plant in the city to aid in the need for more electricity. This will also regulate the occurrence of power blackouts.

They said coal-fired power plant is a cheap source of energy and is in fact, not that harmful to health, contrary to what some environmental groups say.

They added that with the coal-fired power plant, power rates will decrease and it would encourage more investors to put up businesses in the city.

Meanwhile, it turned out that the 15 one-megawatt generator sets supposedly provided for the city and hoped to help in the power problem are used for the whole of Panay Island.

With this, others fear that it still won’t be enough to boost the city’s power supply.

(Sunstar Iloilo)

Negros, Panay need to set up own plants

May 8, 2008

Negros, Panay need to set up own plants

Energy Sec. Reyes says going renewable is the way to go in the future as it is sustainable

By Ma. Ester L. Espina, Correspondent

TALISAY CITY: There is no way to go but energy self-sufficiency for Negros and Panay islands to avert the looming power crisis by 2010.

This was partly the immediate solution presented by Energy Sec. Angelo Reyes at the Energy Summit that urged stakeholders to encourage private sector investment in power plants in Negros and Panay held on Wednesday at Nature’s Village, Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

Currently, Negros is experiencing a deficit of 31 megawatts at peak hours while Panay needs an additional 30.6 megawatts, these despite attempts to transfer maximum power to these areas out of the surplus from Leyte’s power source.

The Department of Energy’s monitoring showed that for the months of March and April, Negros and Panay experienced power outages for 13 and 23 days, respectively, due to the maintenance of the Palinpinon geothermal plant.

Reyes said he is looking forward to a future where the people in the Visayas will have brownout-free days, but that will happen only if the stakeholders will work together and ensure that the islands have an investment-friendly atmosphere to encourage investors to come in and set up power plants to answer their needs.

At this point, Reyes said the government could only do so much because the Epira law has outlawed the national government from putting up new plants. While there have been private sector- initiated proposals to set up power plants in Negros and Panay, the local opposition has scared them away which resulted to the current power crisis these areas experience, and which is seen to worsen in a couple of years.

“Environmental concerns and ‘NIMBY’ (not in my own backyard) mentality against power projects could have prevented the current power shortage,” Reyes said, referring to the strong opposition against the proposed Pulupandan coal-fired power plant in 2001 and Kepco coal plant in Panay in 2003, both of which could have provided 100 and 200 megawatts, respectively.

With scheduled maintenance shut downs of Visayas base load plant units, particularly that of the Leyte and Tongonan geothermal plants, the Cebu coal thermal plant, and the Palinpinon and Nothern Negros geothermal plants, power supply shortage in Negros and Panay is expected to worsen if no immediate solution is adapted.

Transco President Art Aguilar explained that while the Leyte source may have a surplus of 360 megawatts, more than enough to sustain the needs of Cebu, Negros and Panay, “there is a limit to how much you can transmit to these areas even if Leyte doubles its capacity through sheer law of physics.”

“Exporting power through the lines reaching the end of Panay is limited, thus the need to set-up your own power-generating plants in the area,” Aguilar added.

Reyes, on the other hand, said there is a need to balance everything, referring to opposition against coal-fired power plants and the recent request of Philippine National Oil Corp.-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC) to expand their geothermal development. “While we would all want to protect the environment foremost, the cost of not having enough power is a lot more,” he said.

Using renewable energy is still the way to go in the future because its sources are sustainable, Reyes added.

He also announced that he will be back Monday together with PNOC-EDC to present solutions and programs that will address the strong reservations of Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra against the expansion development of PNOC in the Mount Kanlaon National Park.


April 30, 2008

April 29, 2008
Series of 2008

The higher the level of corruption in a country, the greater the destruction of the environment.

Environment: A major source of corruption

The higher the level of corruption in a country, the greater the destruction of the environment; likewise, the lower the level of environmental sustainability. This correlation comes not from an NGO or an anti-corruption watchdog but from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Davos annual meeting of political and corporate leaders from all over the world.

The linkage between environment and corruption is ringing alarm bells not only in the WEF but in other multilateral organizations as well. This may not necessarily out of their concern for the environment, however, but because the funds granted many developing countries including the Philippines to combat corruption have yielded no promising results, worse, are embezzled through corruption itself.

There is another correlation: Developing countries that are highly dependent on extractive industries, such as mining, logging, and the export of resources, show the highest levels of corruption. The WEF, along with Transparency International (TI), Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), and other institutions see the Philippines as the second most corrupt country in the world and the first in Asia today.

Previously ranked as one of a few countries with the most diverse ecosystems, the Philippines is now facing an environment crisis. Only 17 percent of its forest cover is left and 50 of its 421 major river systems are biologically dead. Mining and other extractive industries threaten farm life, coastal and marine resources, access to water, and spawn epidemics and pollution of all types. Foreign mining firms have, since the 1970s, plundered as much as $30 billion worth of mineral resources from the Philippines. Moreover, some $2 billion is lost to environmental degradation every year.

The environment sector is a major source of corruption as well as political patronage. The plunder of natural wealth has been the material base of oligarchic politics that promotes and practices corruption. It is where the most coveted resources are, and it is where the money is. The mineral wealth alone that remains untapped is worth $840 billion; the first phase of the Arroyo administration’ s minerals policy was expected to generate $10 billion in investments.

Teeming with corruption

The large-scale exploitation and extraction of the country’s natural wealth especially timber and mineral resources teems with corruption involving bureaucrats, powerful politicians and their cronies, on the one hand, and transnational corporations and their local partners, on the other. The maze and levels of corruption begin with the TNCs themselves – in their ¬countries business gives legitimacy to bribery.

In the United States, for instance, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) does not prohibit bribing foreign officials through facilitating or expediting payment “the purpose of which is to expedite or secure the performance of a routine governmental action.” On the other hand, the OECD’s 1997 Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (“OECD Convention”) makes acceptable “grease payments,” “speed money,” “facilitating payments,” or “expediting payments” that are made to ensure the timely delivery of goods and services, such as permits and licenses.

In Canada, the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act makes even more explicit about “grease” payments as legal if these are made to expedite or secure the performance by a foreign public official of any routine act that is part of the foreign public official’s duties or functions, including the issuance of a permit, license, visas, and work permits.

As a result, foreign firms including mining TNCs offer bribes and allot revenues for grease money sometimes bigger than the normal 22 percent that Filipino business firms normally earmark to get government projects approved. Many TNCs whose mining operations have been banned or restricted in other countries because of pollution are willing to shell out bribe money in the Philippines allowing them to invest in mining exploration, extraction, and exportation while evading tight environment evaluation, monitoring, or even litigation. Awash with trillions of dollars in surplus capital, China’s corporations including ZTE-NBN are willing to offer as much as one-third of their investment capital to corner mining, telecommunications, road development and other major projects. These projects damage the environment, demolish communities, and make the people bear more tax burdens to compensate for losses in enterprises that do not benefit them at all.

The profit objectives of business in extracting billions worth of environment resources are facilitated through the enactment of laws and onerous treaties, the issuance of policies, transactions, permits, designation of areas for operation, sham environment assessments, and other papers. This bureaucratic and policy-making process involves all layers of government including the chief executive, Congress, and even members of the judiciary.

Legal mechanisms

Thus legal mechanisms are used to legitimize and process the plunder of natural resources. But it is the invisible hand of corruption wielded by the powers-that- be which makes this development aggression more expeditious. It is this same hand that protects profitable ventures, beneficiaries of corruption, and the wanton destruction of the environment at the expense of communities, their livelihood and property, and their future. Corruption makes environment laws unenforceable and violators to get away with their crimes. It also makes accountability toothless.

A case in point: When the Supreme Court ruled in December 2004 that the Mining Act was unconstitutional, the bureaucracy’ s top honchos flexed their muscle to support the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines‘ and the TNCs’ lobby to have the ruling reversed. Millions of dollars were reportedly spent for this campaign. In less than a month, the high court did an about face. A jubilant House Speaker Jose de Venecia boasted before international mining investors in London in June 2005: “We mounted a strong campaign to get the Supreme Court to reverse itself. It was a difficult task to get 15 proud men and women of the Supreme Court to reverse themselves. But we succeeded.”
Corruption is the secret agency that makes environmental destruction possible topped by civilian deaths, epidemics, and calamities. It has led to the depletion of the country’s natural resources ranging from
deforestation, slope destabilization, soil erosion, desertification, water resource degradation, defertilization, crop damages, siltation, alteration of terrain and sea-bottom topography, increased water turbidity and air pollution. It continues to threaten the country’s food security.
Given the current propensity to reward corrupt officials while whistleblowers along with anti-corruption watchdogs are intimidated, corruption in the environment sector is here to stay and is sure to worsen. Horrifying will be day when the whole country degrades into a desert and the only life remaining is the social cockroaches – the corrupt oligarchs and crony capitalists.

Corruption breeds in a government dominated by oligarchs who craft development policies motivated by private gain and corporate greed. And yet environment constitutes public wealth and it is just for the people to make an assertion of this basic principle. In the short term, pending legislative bills that uphold transparency in government transactions such as the right to public information should be supported. Independent and impartial investigations of corruption cases and environmental plunder should take their course. In the long term, the campaign for environment conservation and the defense of patrimony should be linked to the overall struggle for land, against corruption, and toward democratic governance.


Bobby Tuazon
Director, Policy Study, Publication and Advocacy (PSPA)
Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)
TelFax +63-2 9299526; mobile phone: 0915-6418055
E-mail:; info@cenpeg. org
http://www.cenpeg. org

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