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Gov Degamo vows to oppose coal plants in Negros

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Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo vowed to continue his opposition to coal-fired power plants even with the possibility of Negros Island becoming a federated region.

Degamo said this in an interview on Tuesday, a day after he and several other local government officials/units and private groups and individuals were cited by the Climate Reality Project Philippines (Climate Reality PH) for their advocacies and campaigns against climate change.

“For as long as we are part of the federal form of government, I will continue to oppose coal-fired power plants in our region,” he said.

The governor was reacting to reports of the potential entry of a coal-fired power plant in neighboring Negros Occidental, although officials there are saying that they are also considering banning this type of non-renewable energy source.

Previous media reports had said that San Miguel Corporation was eyeing the possibility of putting up a coal-fired power plant in San Carlos, Negros Occidental.

Wilfred Ramon Peñalosa, head of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) of Negros Occidental, in an interview shortly before the awarding rites Monday, pointed out that their governor, Alfredo Marañon, had already made a stand two years ago for a “green energy development program” for Negros.

“Syempre may nag a-apply pero alam nila ang stand ng probinsya natin (certainly, there are applicants, but they know our province’s stand). Wala namang pumipigil sa kanila na mag-apply (nobody is preventing them from applying),” Peñalosa said.

Degamo said he hopes there will be no conflict with Negros Occidental on coal-fired power plants, especially if the proposed federal form of government will be realized and Negros Island will become one federated state.

“Masama sa environment talaga ang coal (coal is really bad for the environment) and for as long as I am a member of that regionalized form of government, I will continue to oppose any construction of coal-fired power plants,” he reassured.

The Negros Oriental governor signed Executive Order No. 9 last March 28, ordering all offices and local government instrumentalities in the province not to issue permits, authorize, endorse, or express support
to coal-fired power plants.

The move, which also aimed to declare Negros Oriental an environment-friendly and clean energy province, was adopted afterward by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through a resolution.

The provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental were among local government units that received last Monday, Nov. 5, the Allen S. Quimpo Climate Leadership for Governance Memorial Award from the Climate Reality Project Philippines.

This award is given to local government units (LGUs) that are supporting and promoting renewable energy and are hosts to renewal energy plants in their areas.

The municipality of Valencia in Negros Oriental, which hosts the Palinpinon geothermal power plants of the Energy Development Corporation, was also given the same citation.

In his message during the awarding night, Degamo urged other LGUs in the country to follow suit and “say no to coal” for a greener environment.

“Kung dili kita muhimo ana karon, kinsa man ang muhimo ani” (if we don’t act now, who will do this instead)? We need heroes nowadays, and I know that this is an ambitious program but if we had the heart to implement all of these, we can do it,” he stressed.

The Climate Reality Project’s 2018 Leadership Awards was held at the National Museum of Natural History in Manila. (PNA)