Davao Sur town gives green light on coal-fired power plant

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 March) – As Davao City is still in a quandary whether to approve or not the construction of a giant coal-fired power plant within its boundaries, neighboring Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur have no second thoughts in allowing Aboitiz Power Corp. to construct a small part of the plant.

Of the 51 hectares needed for the proposed P25-billion 300-megawatt power plant, the main generating unit will be in the Davao City-side, while only the warehouse and storage facilities will be built in Barangay Inawayan of Sta. Cruz, occupying 17 hectares.

Municipal Councilor Alan B. Angub said they approved the project because it would not pose risks to Sta. Cruz residents as the emissions will be in Barangay Binugao of Davao City.

“After conducting public consultations and committee hearings, the council decided to favorably endorse the project,” the councilor added.

The committees on health, trade and industry, energy, transportation and communication and environment and natural resources of Davao City, meantime, are busy mulling over the proposal.

Angub said the endorsement was contained in a resolution passed by the majority of the members of the municipal council.

The municipality of Sta. Cruz, he said, also welcomes the project since it would mean more employment for local residents and more income for the town courtesy of taxes from the power firm.

Aboitiz Power explained that the area in Sta. Cruz is intended for the port and storage facilities that would house the unused coal. The approval from the local government unit was among the requirements by the national regulatory agencies to pursue the project.

Manuel M. Orig, Aboitiz Power’s first vice president in Mindanao, said the firm is honored to receive Sta. Cruz’s endorsement.

“We shall continue to fulfill other requirements of national and local government units while explaining to the public the benefits of our clean coal power plant project,” he said.

In Davao City, the proposed project was met with opposition by anti-coal advocates as they claimed it might pose risks to the public’s health and the environment.

Dr. Romeo F. Quijano, a pharmacology and toxicology professor at the University of the Philippines college of medicine in Manila, said earlier the planned coal plant even has radioactive elements that could pose danger to residents near the project.

But the power firm assured that “no chemical will come in contact with the water. The power plant will not affect our water supply because it is located near the sea and therefore downstream from Davao’s water sources.” (MindaNews)