Palawan guv insists controversial power plant is safe
Under fire by various sectors for pushing the implementation of the project, Alvarez said he himself is getting “sick” by widespread opposition and baseless allegations against the 15-megawatt coal-fired power plant.
“Since people are very noisy about it – that birds will die, marine life surrounding it will die, people will start to get sick – I’m also getting sick of what they are all saying – because that is not true,” he said in a story published by Palawan Times.
Alvarez, however, vehemently denied that the project was his brainchild.
“I am not the author of coal (plant),“ he said. “Everybody now is blaming me about coal. I don’t choose any power; whatever you give me, give it to me.”
“I’m not pushing coal, but I want power now because I want to move this province forward not backward,” he added.
Former Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn is urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to suspend the setting up of the 15-megawatt coal-fired power plant, warning that if such project pushes through, it will imperil the province’s environmental heritage.
He described the plant as “an environmental disaster waiting to happen”.
Alvarez argued that if burning coal has a serious effect to public health, then why he himself, whose house in Zambales stands frontward of a coal-fired power plant, did not succumb to death.
“Don’t scare the people of Palawan who are less educated. What they are saying is not true,” he said, adding that “worst, people in Manila joined the bandwagon of crying coal is bad.”
Alvarez, who also chairs the province’s environmental regulatory agency, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), approved the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance for the project on May 28.
The coal-fired power plant is part of DMCI Power Corporation’s 25-MW power supply agreement (PSA) with the Palawan Electric Cooperative that was signed in 2013.
DENR is currently reviewing DMCI’s application for environmental compliance certificate (ECC), a permit necessary for the construction of the power plant.
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