Environmental activists marched in Manila on November 20 to mark the “National Day of Action Against Coal” by calling for an end to the use of “dirty energy” in the country.
“The time has come to demand accountability and for the government to act in the best interests of its citizens,” said Gerry Arances, convener of the group Power for People Coalition.
The group called for an end to the use of coal, citing the pollution it brought to communities.
“We have been making this call for years,” said Arances, adding that even President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier committed to the use of more renewable energy.
“But all that has happened so far is the proliferation of coal,” he said, adding that “we must move to end coal and limit its effect on climate change.”
The group said that while it acknowledges the government declaration of a moratorium on the use of coal last month, “we are not given assurance that all 13.8 GW composed of 23 coal plants in the pipeline will not be constructed.”
The activists said that with the recent devastation caused by a series of five typhoons in recent weeks, the government should move to cancel all coal projects and declare the phaseout period not later than 2030 of the existing 9.88 GW of coal.
Arances said the moratorium on new coal application is “a huge development” in the campaign against the proliferation of coal plants.
“But the government must not stop there,” he said. “It has to include those coal projects that already have permits and are being opposed by affected communities across the country.”
Arances said that there are more than four gigawatts of coal projects, which are in the pipeline, that “are technically safe from the new policy.”
In 2019, the Global Coal Exit List reported that the Philippines has the third biggest coal capacity in the pipeline at 12.014 gigawatts of new coal power.
The Philippines has 27 existing coal-fired power plants and 29 proposed new coal projects in the pipeline.
The protest action was participated in by representatives of communities in the country that host coal-fired power plants.