A cause-oriented group on Monday reiterated its call for the country to fully shift to renewable energy to avert the occurrence of national disasters due to strong typhoons.
The Power for People Coalition (P4P) issued the call in conjunction with the country’s commemoration of killer typhoon Ondoy which struck 13 years ago, and amid the current onslaught of super-typhoon Karding.
At the same time, the group hailed the cancellation of the projected 600-megawatt liquefied natural gas project in Leyte.
In 2009, Ondoy brought a record 17.9 inches of rain in just over 24 hours in Metro Manila, triggering floods even of enormous proportions.
Karding’s strength caused Polillo Islands and the extreme northern edge of Quezon province to be placed under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 5.
“Destructive typhoons, including those described as ‘once in a century’ or ‘once in a decade’ in terms of their power, have become an almost annual occurrence in the Philippines due to the climate emergency. We know the climate emergency is happening because the world continues to use fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, despite warnings aired for decades that it would lead the world to disaster. Yet despite our country being a punching bag for super-typhoons, successive governments, including the current Marcos administration, continue to expand the use of fossil fuels for our country. How many more super-typhoons must hit us before our government wakes up to facts?
It’s time to act, and act quickly,” P4P convenor Gerry Arance said.
The Philippines generates 76.1 percent of its power from coal and natural gas, and the latter has seen a boost from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who declared his support for it as a “transition fuel” to renewable energy.
“The situation can only get worse from this point. We envy Vanuatu, whose president just called on countries in the world to support a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty in the United Nations, while our own president in the same forum simply passed the buck to developed countries and remained silent on a concrete road map to renewables,” Arance said.
The P4P cited the confirmation made by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that the proponent of the 600 MW Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Combined Cycle Power Plant Project in Barangay Tugas, Tabango, Leyte project has withdrawn its application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
Prestige Power Resources, Inc. (PPRI), a subsidiary of SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation (SMC GPHC), withdrew its application in the aftermath of strong resistance from local communities to the project.
Tabango is part of the franchise area of the Leyte V Electric Cooperative (LEYECO V), which charged its consumers ₱17.0340 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) this month, one of the highest in the country, due to the high prices of fossil fuels in the world market.
The success of the local community in Leyte was lauded by advocates nationwide, who hope that similar success can be found in other LNG projects around the country.