Pacquiao bucks coal-fired plants in Mindanao

- Donnabelle L. Gatdula -

MANILA, Philippines - Saranggani Rep. Manuel “Pacman” Pacquiao has vowed to bar the construction of new coal-fired power facilities in Mindanao.

The world boxing champion, who is a member of the House Committee on Energy, told The STAR in a chance interview over the weekend that he is advocating the utilization of cleaner sources of energy such as renewable energy.

“I would like to push for clean energy sources such as hydro and biomass,” he said.

He said there are a lot of investors willing to pour in capital in these cleaner type of fuels.

“Using biomass will not only help produce power for the country but also put out waste as this will convert garbage into power,” he said.

But when asked about nuclear energy development, Pacquiao said “as long as it will be clean, I am for it.”

Pacquiao has been very critical of the establishment of coal-fired power plants in Mindanao even though proponents of these facilities are saying they would be using the newest technologies that would ensure low carbon emissions.

“We have other options. I do not want anything that will pollute the environment,” he said.

It was learned that Pacquiao is also supporting a House resolution that would allow an immediate moratorium on the development of coal power plant projects in the country until 2050.

Pacquiao’s view, however, is somewhat countered by government pronouncements that coal-fired power plants would be an immediate and cheapest solution to the impending power crisis in the country.

Based on the Department of Energy (DOE) data, government openly supports the construction of coal-fired power plants as long as these will utilize clean technologies.

“In the downstream coal sector, particularly the utilization of coal for power generation and cement manufacturing companies, which can introduce clean coal technologies in existing and future power/cement plants to minimize adverse effects of coal on the environment and still be competitive, are definitely welcome,” it said.

The DOE even vouches for the development of coal mines to support the establishment of coal-run power facilities in the country.

“Companies wanting to get involved in the Philippine coal sector in a major way are invited to consider putting up coal-fired mine-mouth power plants in the country’s major undeveloped coal areas through joint ventures with existing holders of coal operating contracts,” the DOE said.

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