NEVER SURRENDER: Statement on SBFCCI President Surrender to Coal Plant Project
ALEX CORPUS HERMOSO
Olongapo-Zambales Civil Society Network
Member of the Board, People's Task Force on Hanjin & Subic Bay Inc.
August 17, 2011, 4:06 PM
The white flag is raised up by some members of the business community within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a sign of defeat in the campaign to scrap the plan to build a coal-fired power plant in Subic Bay. Such defeat came too soon for a few within the SBFCCI membership.
Mr. Danny Piano stated in his letter that "it is a done deal" and therefore not worth fighting to stop it anymore. The "gladiators" as he claims we are as Civil Society Organizations in the Provinces of Zambales, Bataan and the City of Olongapo are fighting over a useless campaign.
Unknown to Mr. Danny Piano and some members of the Chamber of Commerce, there have been countless of moves that the oppositors have done to protest the issuance of EEC and the strange rush approval of the SBMA Board without the necessary requirements such as "Social Acceptability" . The network of oppositors particularly the multi-sectoral Olongapo-Zambales Civil Society Network affirm its stand against the Coal-fired Power Plant and will never raise the white flag. The proponents and supporters of the Coal-fired Power Plant have not yet seen the real campaign against it. Unkown to the SBF business community, there has been protest actions and confrontations at the project site in the town of Subic. Mr. Piano's claim that SBFCC under his leadership is there since the beginning like a sole crusader protesting with hundreds of hours and using personal resources as if no other group shared the same position is not true. Whereas it is only right and proper that the Chamber made its protests heared since they are utilizing the ecological attributes of Subic, it is also proper that other protesters should be welcome to carry on the fight without surrender.
We stand by our statement that there is no Social Acceptability by the directly affected communities in the Municipality of Subic and is opposed by various tourism-related locators, the association of the Greater Subic Bay Tourism industries and other business establishments within the Greater Subic Bay Area. The residents of Olongapo City and Subic Municipality as well as the residents within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone particularly in Kalayaan and Binictican Residential Area strongly oppose the project. The project is opposed by the Olongapo City Government for health and environmental reasons. Two City Resolutions have been passed and submitted to the SBMA and concerned government agencies under lobbying of concerned citizens and Civil Society Organizations. The deliberations of the Sangunian Bayan of Subic (herewith attached) strongly opposes the same project. The Zambales Provincial Board strongly oppose what would be the second Coal-Fired Power Plant in Zambales after the Masinloc Coal Power Plant that is said to have enough power to supply Hanjin Industries.
It is also a known fact that the project violated the previous terms and conditions with the SBMA that TCC will be a Joint Venture with SBMA, that it would be environmentally friendly, and that it would provide affordable power to the Freeport, Olongapo City and the Subic Bay Area. With the non-compliance of the conditions for the existing project for 300MW Coal-fired Power Plant, the same project is now applying to expand to 600MW Coal-fired Power Plant on the same location.
We further stand by that without clear, transparent and accountable social acceptability, an ECC should not be issued and that the previous ECC for the 300MW must be revoked at once.
The severe negative effect on the eco-tourism image of Subic Freeport will result to loss of tourism incomes, pollution and negative effect to public health without mitigation, possible acid rain formation endangering the last Central Luzon rain forest within the Subic Bay Freeport are not addressed at all. Furthermore, the 100% export of power generated to national grid in contradiction to promises and commitments for reasonable and cheaper power in the Freeport and neighboring Local Governments cannot be met as Mr. Piano accepted.
The supporters and those who gave up the campaign are not fully aware that Fluidized bed combustion (FBC) technology is not a Technology of Taiwan Cogeneration Corporation. FBC boilers were first used in eastern Pennsylvania in 1987.
The so-called Clean Coal technology is indeed just a little more superior and cleaner than conventional pulverized coal power plants but the FBC burner are more complicated than what Mr. Piano admittedly observed. Burning of coal at low temperature results in incomplete breakdown of organic compound and thereby increase the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) and waste coal has higher concentration of mercury than normal coal burners due to their use of limestone injections. The addition of extra limestone produce more solid waste and can promote the formation of PAHs in the FBC system. The total PAH emission increases with an increase in sulfur content of coal. Some ash particles can still pass the Electrostaticprecipitators and transported into the atmosphere. These should not have passed the scrutiny of those who were once opposing the Subic Coal Plant like Mr. Piano.
We urge Mr. Piano and the rest of the SBFCC members not to lose out in the fight that is just starting. It is far from over and it is gaining more support not only within the Philippines but also with the international community. SBFCC as he said never changed its stand against the project. We all are frateful for their unified stand even if Mr. Piano in his personal capacity believes that the fight is lost. SBFCC should know that renewable energy is also available for Subic as already proposed and soon to be approved.
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