Environmental activists called on president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to consult with residents in communities affected by coal-fired power plants in planning for the country’s future energy mix.
“He should involve the communities and civil society, including the academe, in making an educated decision,” said Glenn Ymata, senior energy campaigner for the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).
He said the government should listen to its people instead of prioritizing the interest of businesses.
“We think he is still unsure of what he wants to pursue,” said Ymata, adding that the president-elect should “better go to the communities and listen to how coal destroyed the ecology and their lives.”
During the election campaign, Marcos has been vocal about his plan to look into the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
He also reportedly discussed with several diplomats possible collaborations for sources of renewable energy.
Environmental activists, however, said expanding renewable energy sources “should not be treated as offsetting to justify dirty energy projects.”
Ymata said Marcos’s intent to rehabilitate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant “completely defeats the purpose of pursuing renewable energy development.”
“It is a common misconception that nuclear power is renewable, but it’s not,” said Ymata, adding that Marcos may not know it, “but we hope he commits to increase more renewable energy sources than coal.”
Leon Dulce, national coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, said Marcos’ statements on the country’s energy security are “conflicting.”
On Wednesday, environmental activists held a demonstration outside the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila in time for the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF).
“We demand a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy before 2050,” said Lidy Nacpil, APMDD coordinator.
She called for commitment from ACEF “to align financing and policies to phase out fossil fuels and enable the accelerated deployment of renewable technologies.”
“The ADB must go beyond hollow pledges for low carbon transition and immediately end all forms of support for all fossil fuel projects,” said Nacpil.
Data from the Department of Energy show that in 2020, the Philippines’ power mix consisted of 57 percent coal-fired, 21 percent renewable energy, 19 percent natural gas, and two percent oil-based.