Catholic priests warned against the impacts on “energy security, sustainability, and affordability” of the proposed gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant projects in the Diocese of Lucena.
In a statement issued on the 73rd anniversary of the diocese on September 8, the priests said they “will not waiver in our commitment to the call” of Pope Francis to protect and defend the environment and vulnerable communities amidst the increasing number of proposed fossil gas projects in the region.
The priests criticized the Philippine government’s “support for gas expansion… despite the abundance of renewable energy sources” in the country.
The Philippines has a renewable energy potential of up to 807.87 gigawatts, according to the energy department.
The towns of Mauban, Pagbilao, and Atimonan are “potential sites” for the proposed projects, including a 2,400-megawatt plant backed by Atimonan One Energy (A1E), a subsidiary of Meralco.
In the municipalities of Mauban and Pagbilao, communities have long suffered due to coal-fired power plants, according to the priest. “In Atimonan, trees have been indiscriminately cut down in a bulldozed mountainside,” the statement read.
The priests also warned against the impact of the gas projects on “electricity prices given its volatility and the high prices of LNG in the global market”. “Companies will ultimately pass these financial risks to consumers in the form of pass-on costs,” they said.
“The fossil fuel industry’s insistence on continuing the construction of this LNG plant despite the presence of cheaper, cleaner, and more dependable energy sources like solar and wind is a clear rejection of the Pope’s call for an immediate change in sources of energy,” the statement read.