By Cecille Garcia, Manila Standard Today

MAY 15, 2012, SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The planned coal-fired thermal plant here faces rough sailing as oppositors mass up to file a Writ of Kalikasan.

Alex Hermoso, lead convener of the Zambales-Olongapo Civil Society Network, said in a media forum Kapihan sa Dayrit’s that a case is being finalized to stop the project.

“We strongly oppose the setting up of the coal thermal Plant in Subic,” Hermoso said, on the issue of a coal energy source inside the Freeport.

Lawyer  Leonardo Bernabe, of the Olongapo Integrated Bar of Philippines, said the local chapter would extend pro bono service in filing the Writ of Kalikasan case.

“Few months ago, we had a meeting with RP Energy where they presented the project but that didn’t change our position,” he said. “The IBP local chapter then passed a resolution strongly opposing the project.”

Bernabe said the writ may include the issuance of a Temporary Environmental Protection Order in case of grave injustice or irreparable injury.

Olongapo City Councilor James Gordon Delos Reyes cited a study of Dr. Art Mendoza on the coal thermal plant which would be “far more damaging than the eruption Mt. Pinatubo” if allowed to proceed.

“Subic is a popular tourism destination because of its pristine environment with triple canopy rain forest and rich marine resource,” he said.

Gabby Mondragon, consultant for ecology of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said new board members led by Chairman Robert Garcia were reviewing the contract, permits and the Certificate of Registration of Tax Exemption of the project proponent issued by the previous board.

“New conditions were imposed by the current SBMA Board including an assurance from the proponent that the project should be environment friendly,” he told the forum.

Forum producer Rey Garcia of News Central, a Subic-based regional business newspaper in Central Luzon, said proponent Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. was invited but no representative showed up.

The forum was attended by Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce president Danny Piano, City Councilor Jong Cortez, Rotaract Club president Mike Dominic Piga,  Olongapo Consumers Association president Shirley Emeterio, businessman Bong Sangco and media organizations in Olongapo.

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