Cebu News

Rama: No concrete plan to build LNG power plants

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he was "a bit surprised" by the call of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)-Cebu and other concerned groups to stop the establishment of liquefied natural gas (LNG)/fossil gas power plants in the city, considering that there are no concrete plans yet to that effect.

The group filed a petition before the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Energy, citing adverse health and environmental impacts of LNG power plants.

The group is also set to file the same petition against the cities of Cebu and Naga today, according to PMCJ’s Lito Varquez.

Rama, who just came from vacation, said he was wondering why such an issue came up when he read about it in the newspaper.

“I had nothing to comment, I was reading the newspaper and wondering why Cebu City is being referred to and the area was Sawang Calero…If you are talking about a power plant, naa diay naghuna-huna og tukod diha?” Rama pointed out in yesterday’s press conference while saying he is not for any power plants in that area if there is such a plan.

The mayor, though, was a bit mixed up between PMCJ’s recollection of a supposed power plant in Sawang Calero before and another proposed project from a US-based company.

Rama went on to discuss his plans in Sawang Calero, Ermita, and other barangays around the area for mixed-use purpose and a park as part of a waterfront development instead, but did not talk more on power plants.

PMCJ’s objection came after learning that Terra Movers Development and US-based Westfield Resources may build an LNG plant that could provide about 300 megawatts of power not only for Cebu City but also for Cebu Province.

Aside from that, PMCJ-Cebu also expressed its opposition to a planned power plant in Naga by Aboitiz Power, accordingly in 2026.

PMCJ, in its petition, cited high levels of respiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases in LNG host communities while also saying that fossil gas like all fossil fuels “is a dirty source of energy”.

In its protest, PMCJ stressed that the State, as well as the concerned LGUs and national government agencies, should protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them in a balanced and healthy ecology.

Liquefied natural gas-based (LNG) power generation is associated with elevated methane and nitrogen oxide emissions during the combustion process, Varquez explained earlier.

These oxides of nitrogen accordingly are associated with a number of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma symptoms in children, chronic bronchitis, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infection. NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted by gas plants can also combine with other compounds in the air to form PM2.5 and PM10.

Supported by the global medical community, among them the 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change entitled “Health at the Mercy of Fossil Fuels,”  PM2.5 inhalation is proven to cause the following health complications: lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and pre-term births.

Instead of fossil gas use, the group is suggesting that both cities focus on the development of solar and wind energy. — JMD (FREEMAN)


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