Mayor Duterte Soca mum on coal-fired power plant

DAVAO  CITY (MindaNews/20 September) — Mayor Sara Duterte’s second State of the City Address (Soca) on Tuesday categorically stated her position against mining as a source of “more problems than solutions” but did not say a word on the controversial coal-fired power plant being proposed by Aboitiz Power.

Environment group Panalipdan-Mindanao said this shows an inconsistency on the part of the city government in as far as the environment is concerned, adding they expected any word from Duterte on the proposed 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant.

Francis Morales, spokesperson of Panalipdan Mindanao, said that while Duterte’s stance on mining is a welcome position, “the city government is just inconsistent in its position toward the environment and for the future generations”.

“The city has the Watershed Code, the Organic Code, the No Smoking Ordinance and now it is saying no to mining. What about the proposed coal-fired power plant?” he asked.

He added he was surprised that the proposal was not mentioned in the Soca despite being one of the contentious local issues.

Duterte has maintained that she is not in favor of the project, saying it is still better to explore other energy sources.

Her father, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had openly supported the project but made a sudden turnaround reportedly after learning that the plant would utilize fresh water.

The coal-fired power plant is proposed to be built in Barangay Binugao of Toril District, where one of the city’s aquifers sits.

The elder Duterte admitted early this month that he was made to understand that the company will be using seawater.

He said he recently learned that the company would be drawing groundwater not seawater to run the power plant.

In her Soca delivered before the city council, Duterte said that while other countries are focusing on mining as one of their multi-million industries, she prefers to close the city’s doors to any mining investors.

“I have already declared that mining is out of the question as it will bring more problems than solutions and we can learn a lot just by a cursory examination of LGUs with mining areas,” she said.

She added that she has “already made representations with Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau to keep mining out of Davao City, more specifically in the areas of Paquibato and Marilog.”

Morales meanwhile said the mayor may have already realized that mining would not propel the local economy but could only bring environmental and social problems in the communities.  (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)