MANILA-Today on World Environment Day, environmental activists under the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) held a picket protest outside the office of DMCI Holdings denouncing its various environmental crimes and human rights violations in several biodiversity areas in the Philippines. The latest case is the railroading of the pollutive 15-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Narra Town, Palawan Province.
“The Filipino people must demonstrate on World Environment Day our commitment to protect our natural heritage and ecology by opposing DMCI’s coal-fired power plant in the globally-renowned ecological treasure that is the province of Palawan,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
Kalikasan PNE noted that DMCI has an extensive track record of anti-people and anti-environment projects.
“DMCI’s group of companies has been extensively logging in almost 100,000 hectares of forest areas in Mindanao over the past three decades. They have been irresponsibly mining Nickel in Zambales that has already caused massive water pollution. DMCI’s coal-fired power plant in Batangas is a continuing air polluter that is among the 13 power firms to face legal action from the Energy Regulatory Commission for manipulating power rates,” explained Dulce.
Recently, DMCI’s Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) units, paramilitary guards pay rolled by the company’s logging firms in Sultan Kudarat, were suspected in the enforced disappearance of indigenous leader and environmental activist John Calaba. Calaba was an officer in the Manobo group KIDUMA, which opposed DMCI’s logging and mining projects in Sultan Kudarat.
“We must resist and not allow DMCI, which has a long record of environmental crimes, and Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, who was a big commercial logger, to pollute and destroy the pristine environment of Palawan,” Dulce said.
Alvarez is one of the staunch supporters of the Palawan coal power project, and widely known as the one who denuded the forests in Northern Palawan.
“The expensive and dirty coal project of DMCI and Gov. Alvarez has no place in one of the world’s richest biodiversity corridors and hubs of cost-competitive renewable energy,” Dulce added.
The green group noted that there are cleaner yet cheaper sources of energy in the province. According to World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, a proposed hydropower project would sell electricity at P6.59 per kwh, as opposed to the DMCI coal power plant’s proposed P10.51 per kwh with value-added tax included.
“There are cleaner and even more cost-effective alternatives to coal in Palawan, especially if you factor environmental, health and social costs. In fact, Palawan does not need additional power supply from DMCI’s coal given that there is actually a surplus power supply of 16.7-MW in the province,” Dulce noted.
“We are calling for an independent investigation to look into the outstanding risks and negative impacts to the people and the environment by DMCI’s various operations. Government authorities must ensure that companies such as DMCI with such an atrocious environmental and social track record should not be allowed to handle environmentally critical projects,” ended Dulce.
KALIKASAN PNE is a national environmental network founded in 1997 for the coordination and complementation of campaigns on people’s environmental issues.