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Solon: Power crisis used as ploy to revive Subic coal-fired power plant construction

Posted On 2014 Aug 27
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President Benigno S. Aquino III, assisted by SACASOL’s chairman Jose Maria “Jomari” Zabaleta and president Jose Maria “Sech” Zabaleta, Jr., leads the Ceremonial Switch-on of the San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental last May 15 as lawmakers mull a bill mandating the installation of solar panels in public schools in isolated places in the country without electricity to improve the learning capabilities of students in the areas.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, assisted by SACASOL’s chairman Jose Maria “Jomari” Zabaleta and president Jose Maria “Sech” Zabaleta, Jr., leads the Ceremonial Switch-on of the San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental last May 15 as lawmakers mull a bill mandating the installation of solar panels in public schools in isolated places in the country without electricity to improve the learning capabilities of students in the areas.

MANILA (Mabuhay) – A party-list lawmaker on Saturday claimed that the present hype about a looming power crisis in 2015 might be used to push the revival of the mothballed coal-fired power plant in Subic, Zambales, despite its expected environmental impact in the area.

In statement, Kabataan party-list representative Terry Ridon said, “What is clear now is that the power crisis is a mere ploy to justify the resumption of the mothballed 600MW Redondo coal-fired power plant without need for compliance with environmental laws.”

Ridon served as the legal counsel of environmental advocates who sought for a writ of kalikasan before the Supreme Court in 2012 against the proposed construction of a P56-billion coal-fired power plant at Mount Redondo.

The power plant’s construction was spearheaded by the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc., a consortium of the Aboitiz Power Corp., Manila Electric Co. and Taiwan Cogen Corp.

He pointed out the issue after Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr, earlier this week, blamed the looming power crisis to the Supreme Court’s decision on the writ of kalikasan demanding the stoppage of the plant’s construction.

“Had the Supreme Court not TRO-ed the Redondo power plant, which would have been on-stream, we wouldn’t even be facing this issue,” a report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Purisima saying during a briefing on the proposed 2015 national budget.

Also, Abad said the power plant in Subic would have been more than  enough to cover the looming power shortage in 2015, the report said.

After the issuance of a writ of kalikasan, the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals, which eventually invalidated the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued by the government for the construction of the power plant.

“Purisima and Abad’s defense of the halted Subic power plant reveals that the looming power crisis was never about a general concern for a lack of supply, but merely to go to the aid of the Meralco-owned power plant,” Ridon claimed.

“In fact, Meralco had all the chances of complying with environmental laws despite the SC appeal, but it did not do so, choosing instead to float this power crisis scenario.” (MNS)

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