Group opposes 2 fossil gas power plant projects in Cebu

By John Rey Saavedra

January 31, 2023, 6:13 pm

<p><em>(File photo) </em></p>

(File photo) 

CEBU CITY – An environmental group on Tuesday filed a petition before the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas, calling on the agency to deny permit applications for liquefied natural gas (LNG) or fossil gas project in the cities of Cebu and Naga.

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice cited adverse health impacts in filing their petition before the DOH-7 to oppose the planned construction of LNG or fossil gas power plant in the two cities.

“We write this urgent petition to express our opposition to the intention to build a 300-megawatt (MW) Liquefied Natural Gas in Cebu City by Terra Movers Development Corp. and US-based Westfield Resources as announced by Mayor (Michael) Rama in September 2022,” the group said.

The coal-fired thermal plant proposed to be built in the residential village of Sawang Calero here, the group said, will affect the health of the residents in the area, and the environment as well, in general.

According to the group, LNG power generation is “associated with elevated methane and nitrogen oxide emissions during the combustion process… that are associated with a number of respiratory diseases.”

Teody Navea, PMCJ-Cebu chapter convener, said they mainly oppose the intention to build a 300-megawatt (MW) LNG in Cebu City and a 150-megawatt LNG in Naga.

He said the group assailed the power plant's lack of social acceptability.

In the petition, the group claimed that a medical doctor testified during one of the public hearings conducted in 2016 for the proposed Ludo Power Plant who said that “not a single study would tell of any health and environmental benefit from a coal-fired thermal plant from its mining to combustion and waste disposal.”

Rama did not categorically say if he is for or against the power plant project in Sawang Calero, but said the facility has not shown any violation of the laws.

Councilor Joel Garganera, chairperson of the Cebu City Council's Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Energy, said they will address the matter raised by the group once they receive a copy of the petition.

The group also opposed the development of a 150-MW LNG power facility in Naga City, citing the pollution produced by existing coal-fired power plants and a cement factory in the area.

It claimed that continued operations of the plants have caused upper respiratory tract infections among the residents of Barangays Colon, Pangdan, West Poblacion and Inoburan.

Aboitiz Power Corp. is yet to issue a statement on the matter. But in May 2022, its president, Emmanuel Rubio, said the company is considering LNG for Naga, a shift from coal to clean fuel in producing electric power.

Aboitiz Power is eyeing a partnership with a Japanese firm JERA for the development of the 150-MW LNG power plant to be located adjacent to its existing diesel-fired power facility in Naga. The project is hoped “to be delivered by 2026 or 2027.” (PNA)