The head of the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on President Rodrigo Duterte to show sincerity in his call for renewable energy sources for the country.
Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, head of Caritas Philippines, said the president should “walk the talk” when it comes to energy types the government is backing.
In his 5th State of the Nation Address last July, Duterte called on government agencies to fast-track the development of renewable energy and reduce the country’s dependence on “dirty, deadly, and costly” energy sources such as coal.
Bishop Bagaforo, however, noted that the president continues to approve and support new coal-fired power plants.
“The Philippines is largely dependent on coal – the cheapest fuel option that also contributes the most to greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
The prelate particularly noted the establishment of three more coal-fired power plants in Quezon province by SMC Global Power Holdings and Atimonan One Energy (A1E).
Coal operation, he said, is the country’s “unfortunate contribution” to the non-stop destruction of the environment and health risks to communities.
According to Caritas, there are 27 fully operational coal-fired power plants that have a 52 percent share in gross power generation as of December 2018.
Caritas also urged the government to honor international agreements to foster greater care to “Our Common Home, especially in “building clearer clean energy pathways, and to declare climate emergency.”
The organization also called upon all private energy players, especially those in the fossil fuel industry, to start the transition to clean energy solutions.
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