Aboitiz coal-fired plant gets nod from barangay officials

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 Apr) – Aboitiz Power Corp.’s proposed 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant has gained the approval of Barangay Inawayan in Sta. Cruz town, Davao del Sur as its village council issued a certificate of no objection.

The kagawads unanimously approved the resolution to issue the certificate during the barangay council’s regular session on Tuesday.

But Kagawad Roberto Papa stressed that they approved the project “provided that they [Aboitiz] will comply with all the conditions’ set by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The barangay council earlier expressed fears that the waste from the coal-fired power plant might turn out to be like what happened in Barangay Darong, also in Sta. Cruz, when there was an alleged improper waste disposal from the xylose processing plant of CJ Toyota Tsusho Inc.

But upon reviewing Aboitiz’s proposal, Papa said the barangay council observed that the power plant will be different from CJ Toyota Tsusho, because the latter produces wastewater. Aboitiz, on the other hand, assured the kagawads that there will be proper waste disposal from the coal plant.

“The power firm also promised us that they will be liable for whatever problems that would be encountered during construction and operation of the plant,” he said.

Papa said there will be an independent body to monitor the daily activities of the coal-fired power plant, especially in observing temperature changes in the water and dust in the wind.

Aboitiz, he said, assured that the coal ash will be sold to cement factories to be mixed with their products. He said there is now a similar case in Toledo City, Cebu, where 95 percent of the ash from a coal-fired power plant is being sold to a cement factory. The remaining waste will reportedly be stored in coal ash ponds.

A statement from Aboitiz said the power firm will conduct water sampling in areas around the ash pond to ensure that there will be no leakage.

The project would also provide one centavo per kilowatt-hour of electricity sales in a form of project to the host barangay, in compliance with the Department of Energy Act providing financial benefits to host communities.

Papa said that residents, during a public hearing last April 14, also approved of the coal-fired power plant project.

On March 30, the municipal council of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur also approved the entry of the project in the area. The village will accommodate the port, waste and warehouse facilities that would house the unused coal for the project.

The facilities will be located in a 17-hectare lot in Barangay Inawayan. The large bulk of the 51-hectare coal-fired plant will be built in Barangay Binugao, Toril District, Davao City.

The barangay council of Binugao likewise issued on April 15 a certificate of no objection.

The city council, on the other hand, is yet to decide on the project as it is yet to conduct another committee hearing before deciding on the matter.

Meanwhile, Manuel Orig, first vice president for Mindanao of Aboitiz Power, said the power firm is committed to a stronger partnership with the barangays that would be affected upon the entry of their coal-fired power plant.

“We are happy to have received support of our host communities in Binugao and Inawayan. We are committed to ensure the success of our host communities as we work for the success of our projects,” he said. (MindaNews)