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Sunday, March 23, 2014
THREE years ago, the legislative body of Davao City rushed with the passage of the construction of the coal-fired power plant in barangays Binugao and Inawayan. It overrides the veto of then Mayor Sara Duterte who chose to uphold environmental protection and public health. Twenty-one of the 26-member Sangguniang Panlungsod said that while there are other alternative sources of energy, these are not doable and workable to supply the energy needs of the city.
Environmentalists have raised that the coal-power fired plant will cleanse the air by polluting the waterways. Chemicals from the scrubbing mechanism will be dumped into the water systems which will definitely find its way into the groundwater.
Without a sound environmental plan and a local mechanism to monitor water resource, the construction and operation of the coal-fired power plant poses a risk to the water supply. Still, the construction of the power plant in the city’s aquifer continued.
During those critical times, only Councilor Leah Librado stood firm against the proposal. Other council members opined that voting in favor of the coal plant will enable the city to monitor the operations of the plant.
Three years after voting in favor of the coal-fired power plant, the Sangguniang Panlungsod still operates under the assumption that the water resource is sufficient to meet the current local supply and the city’s projected future needs, even without data or any hydrological study to help put in place measures to mitigate any potential negative impact of the coal power plant.
On last Tuesday’s council session, two city councilors -- Leah Librado and Antoinette Principe -- did the city proud in voting NO to the expansion of the coal power plant from 300-megawatt to 645-megawatt. The AboitizPower asked the City Council of Davao for its endorsement on the proposed expansion of power to fully supply Mindanao's continued development; and to save people from experiencing brownouts.
Councilors Librado and Principe showed how a well-thought of, and informed decision can make a big difference in doing legislative work—one that genuinely upholds public interest. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 24, 2014.