Anakbayan to City Council: Be eco-warriors, not profit wards PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 05 June 2011 17:44

A youth group in Zamboanga city is dismayed on the “rush” adoption of a resolution by the City Council last June 1 allowing Conal Holdings Corporation (CHC) to build and operate a coal-fired power plant here.

“There is no such thing as a clean coal!” said James Saguino, Zamboanga City spokesperson and Vice-President for Mindanao of Anakbayan.
The youth leader said that coal plants are among the largest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere which contributes a lot to global warming.
Saguino added, “the council should not be amazed by the observed ‘Zero Smoke’ Emission. Technologies have also been used as ‘smoke-screen’ of the real effects of this source of energy.”

Scientists from other countries have innovated clean coal technology that aims to reduce emissions of CO2, however this does not deny the fact that a coal plant shall still emit such greenhouse gas.

According to Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at present is at the range of 390 to 392 parts per million (ppm), relatively higher than the normal level of 350 ppm.
Philippines was 44th in the 2007 ranking of the world’s countries total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-burning, cement production and gas flaring, according to Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center of the US Department of Energy. (Mainland China topped the ranking; US followed.)

“The whole world has been experiencing climate change. Our leaders should be in the forefront of the movement in the cause to save our environment,” he added.
“Our country is very abundant in indigenous and renewable sources of energy which are not harmful to the environment. The government should invest in exploring and utilizing it.”

The youth leader also slammed the city councilors, who are affirmative of the said resolution, and the CHC, which is a company of Alsons Consolidated Resources Incorporated (ACR Inc.) for prioritizing profit at the cost of environment and the people’s lives.
“Whether they deny it or not, privatization is geared towards profit maximization. That is the very nature of capitalism,” said Saguino.
He also criticized the “rush” adoption of the resolution without conducting a thorough and due consultation with the stakeholders, in contrast to the council’s claim that they had already conducted various information dissemination for the public.

“They should step out of their respective offices and ask their constituents if they [the latter] are really well-equipped of the information regarding the good and bad effects of a coal plant,” the youth leader challenged the city council.
He also asked CHC to make their project proposal open for public view and criticisms.

The people of Zamboanga and other places in Mindanao with standing and planned coal plants cannot assure of a cheap and affordable cost of electricity once the coal plant operates, he said.
“Clean coal ‘so-called’ technology is expensive. Tax, capital and other expenditures are amongst the inputs in putting up and operating the coal plant. The principal means to maximize return of investment are the consumers,” added Saguino.

He said this is the dilemma of privatization because it turns social services, like electricity, into a commodity making it less accessible to the poor majority.
The group calls for national industrialization, contemporaneous with genuine land reform, as the long-term solution to our stagnant economy. This means that strategic and vital industries shall be established and be controlled by the government to assure employment, affordability of goods and service,, towards national development.