June 5, 2015
The Catholic Church through its social action arm has expressed its strong opposition to coal mining, saying this would just open another door for the Philippines to become a major contributor to climate change.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez made the statement during the launch of the “One Million Against Coal Campaign”, which aims to promote resistance on the construction of coal-powered plants, and coal mines across the country by gathering at least one million signatures. The petition likewise hopes to persuade the Philippine government to heed to its commitment of combatting and mitigating climate change effects and preventing natural calamities.
According to Gariguez, it is necessary for the church to be at the forefront especially that the government is adamant to pursue the extension of these destructive operations by asking for emergency power.
“In the guise of providing more efficient energy source, higher tax revenues and the so-called greater development, the state and the multi-national coal companies are opening another door for Philippines to becoming the major contributor to climate change,” Gariguez stressed.
Gariguez added that while it is part of the government’s move to address the impending energy crisis, the latter should not also disregard the health and lives of the people that will be sacrificed by these coal power plants.
He cited studies on how carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired plants contribute and become the primary source of global warming. He also mentioned its fatal effects to the environment and to the people, especially to children inside their mothers’ womb.
“The catastrophe we experienced from Typhoon Yolanda, which killed thousands and damaged billions of properties, is proof to this,” Gariguez added.
Data from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) show that there are 26 new coal plant projects expected to operate in the country by year 2020.
Among these is the 1,200-megawatt Atimonan One Energy power plant extension project, which will be erected soon in Atimonan, Quezon province. The said project will be the third coal plant in the province along with the Mauban Coal Plant and the Pagbilao Coal Plant.
NASSA/Caritas Philippines has already issued its disapproval to the said proposal along with the Diocese of Lucena.
Aside from advocacies on climate change, NASSA/Caritas Philippines has been working closely as well with the nine dioceses from Yolanda-stricken areas through its recovery and rehabilitation program. Its program called REACHPhilippines is now on its second year of providing shelter, water sanitation and hygiene facilities, livelihood and food security, and ecosystem recovery interventions.
JING REY HENDERSON
Senior Communications Officer
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924