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Anticoal protest revived in Subic

September 12, 2014 · 


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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT —Do not be surprised if one of these days, one will see people in the Subic Bay Freeport and nearby areas in Zambales province wearing protest shirts against a proposed coal-fired power plant here.

The clamor to oppose the project at Redondo Peninsula here is starting to gain momentum once more as opponents of the project are firming up their campaign and taking on a new crusade to push for alternative sources of energy.

Alex Hermoso, lead convenor of Zambales-Olongapo Civil Society Network, asked people opposing the power plant, initiated by Redondo Peninsula  Energy


. (RP Energy), to join the new round of protests.

RP Energy is a consortium of firms composed of Manila Electric Co., Aboitiz Power Inc. and Taiwan Cogen. The project will rise in Barangay (village) Cawag in Subic town, Zambales.

“We can now wear anticoal campaign shirts and [hang] banners,” Hermoso said.

Hermoso’s group and  Subic Bay Freeport Chamber for Health and Environment Conservation (SBFCHEC) are gearing up for two big environmental events in this free port.

Anticoal advocates are expected to seize the chance to gather supporters to renew the crusade against what they described as an “antipeople project,” especially as some Cabinet officials have openly supported it and tagged it as a solution to the looming power crisis in the country.

On Sept. 12 and 13, an environmental summit will be held at Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center. The summit will feature talks from Secretary Nereus Acosta, the presidential adviser for environmental protection, and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.

The International Coastal Clean-Up Day, which is dubbed the largest volunteer effort in preserving the world’s oceans, is scheduled on Sept. 20 and is expected to tap more than 20,000 volunteers in Zambales and Olongapo City.

“To those who believe that only alternative sources of energy, such as


energy and wind turbine, suit the Subic Bay area, let’s all join the International Coastal Clean-Up  Day and voice our renewed opposition to the [RP Energy] coal-fired power plant,” Hermoso said.

The planned coal-fired power plant, he said, would pollute Subic Bay and pose health hazards. Former Environment Undersecretary Gregorio Magdaraog, coconvenor of  Subic Anti-Coal Plant Coalition, said the government should push for “better power plants” instead of supporting the construction of the coal-fired power plant project inside this free port.

Magdaraog, who heads SBFCHEC, said a coal-fired power plant was an “old concept” of addressing the energy crisis and that the government should explore other alternatives, such as natural gas, solar and wind power.


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