Davao City council sets second hearing on coal-fired power plant

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 April)—Some 400 people from the communities of Binugao and other areas in Toril are expected to attend the second public hearing Friday on the 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant proposed by the Aboitiz Power Corporation in the city.


The hearing was called for by the city council committees on energy, transportation and communication, health and environment, and trade and industry.


Francis Morales, secretary-general of the environment group Panalipdan and co-convenor of No to Coal Davao, said communities opposed to coal will troop to the city council session to express their objection to the P25-billion project.


The committee hearing is the second in the series of hearings the city council will conduct to decide whether to endorse or not the coal-fired power plant proposed by one of the country’s biggest power producers.


Bobby Orig, Aboitiz Power first vice president for Mindanao affairs, said the plant will employ 1,000 workers in its construction phase alone and 200 regular workers when it starts operation.


“We will give priority to qualified residents of Binugao and Inawayan,” Orig said in a statement. “I am sure there will be opportunities for the residents of Davao City and Sta. Cruz as well.”


The construction of the project will take some 52 hectares within the boundary barangays of Davao City and Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur and will take about 40 months, or a little over three years, the statement said.


But environmentalists warned that coal, which emits carbon dioxide, is the single top contributor to global warming and could bring about untold harm to the environment and human health.


“Let us take note that a 300-megawatt (MW) coal plant burns 150 tons of coal per hour, requiring 172.8 million gallons of water per day,” said City Councilor Leah Librado, one of the few councilors opposed to the project.


“Every year, 120 millions of tons of solid waste from coal-fired power plants are generated, contributing to garbage that is non-recyclable. Let us rethink our position on this matter because in reality, varied sources of renewable energy are at our reach,” she said.


“I stand and register, at the same time, my opposition to the Therma South Inc. proposal of a coal-fired power plant,” Librado said.


“We can generate employment from renewable sources and spare the environment from devastating effects,” she said. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)