Virtual rally wants 2nd Sual power plant project nixed

RESIDENTS of Sual town led by the Save Sual Movement (SSM) and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PCMJ) led a virtual rally online on July 13 to press the town officials to reject the proposed 1,000-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in the town.

Rosanna Soriano, SSM president, said residents are not willing to sacrifice their environment for another coal-fired power plant which they do not even need as their town’s electricity demand is only 10 MW.

Ian Rivera, national coordinator of PCMJ, said, “It is the ordinary people of Sual who would be affected in terms of their health and traditional livelihood by the power plant.”

According to Avril de Torres, head of the Research, Policy and Law Program of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development, the proposed 1,000 MW coal plant to be built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), is one of the biggest power projects in the national pipeline, could have significant adverse environmental impacts.

But according to Philipp Adviento, municipal administrator, Mayor Liseldo Calugay maintains that since KEPCO’s application was submitted during the previous administration, it should undergo another extensive process before it gets the nod of government offices and stakeholders.

Adviento said the mayor will eventually let the people decide on the project “as long as the people are fully aware, fully apprised of the facts and the consequences of the project..

KEPCO has already written the municipal council for a presentation on the $2-billion investment to be built in Barangay Bacquioen, and the municipal councilors are expected to decide if they will endorse the public scoping and public hearing.

KEPCO is already reportedly applying for an environmental compliance certificate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“If the project pushes through, it  will be the single largest foreign direct investment under the Duterte administration,” Adviento said adding that it is expected to have its groundbreaking by August 2021 and will take four years to construct it.

The town is already host to the 1,200 MW coal-fired power plant in Barangay Pangascasan under TeaM Energy which has been in commercial operation since 1999.
Adviento said Sual ranks third among the richest municipalities in the country today because of its power plant. If the second power plant is a go, this will perhaps make Sual as number one richest municipality in the Philippines, he added. (PhilStar Wire Service/ECV)

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