Celebrities take on planned ‘dirty’ coal power plant project in La Union

November 20, 2018 - 5:45 PM
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Jericho Rosales on coal-fired power plant
Actor Jericho Rosales joins in the campaign to stop the construction of a coal-fired power plant in La Union. (Instagram/Jericho Rosales)

Actor Jericho Rosales appealed to the public to sign an online petition to stop the construction of a coal-fired power plant (CFPP) in the town of Luna in the province of La Union.

Rosales wrote on Instagram about the harmful effects of having a coal-fired power plant near residential and coastal areas.

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It is said that it's worse for children to be breathing air near a coal-fired power plant ash bin than to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Burning coal (Karbon mula sa bundok) releases Mercury in the air (A cause of Asthma+other respiratory illnesses and damages the nervous system) then goes to ocean and is eaten by fish that we also eat. It also destroys coral reef in the process. This old and dirty way of producing energy causes many other harmful effects. Read about it. Watch videos online about coal mining. Educate yourself and ASK QUESTIONS. Here's the reason for this long post- Did you know that there is a plan to build one in Luna,La Union? My heart goes out to my beloved La Union. Be informed- Click the link in my bio and sign the petition please. My friends and I might just give you free surf lessons if you sign it. I just did. Thank you! NO TO COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS! Photo taken by @rocket for a short film we made called "Manhid" (Numb) to be released next year. A story about scarcity of fish in the Philippines. How funny is that? We are an archipelago. #protectlaunion #coalfreelaunion #endcoal #breakfreefromfossilfuels #NotCoal

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Burning coal releases mercury, a harmful chemical, in the air, Rosales explained, which will then travel to ocean waters and later to be eaten by marine animals.

“This old and dirty way of producing energy causes many other harmful effects. Read about it. Watch videos online about coal mining. Educate yourself and ask questions,” Rosales said.

He encouraged his supporters to sign the petition through the link he provided on his Instagram account.

Rosales was the second celebrity who urged the public to take a stand against the development of the CFPP project in the province in the North.

Last October, Filipino-American actress Antoinette Taus, an environment advocate, also voiced her concern against this project on Instagram.

Taus then requested the people to sign the same request.

As of writing, the online form in Bataris.org.ph, a local campaign website, gathered 4,204 of 5,000 signatures needed.

There’s also another petition made that seeks the same advocacy. It was posted through change.org, the international version of the previous one. It has only 11,417 of 15,000 signatures.

Studies over the past 30 years showed that people living near CFPP’s have higher death rates at younger ages, science website Physics.org said.

“The elevated health risks appear to be associated with exposure to air pollutants from the coal-burning power plant emissions and to the heavy metals and radioactive material in , a waste product of the plants,” the article in the website read.

A study in 2017 also explained that coal combustion and its wastes produce pollutants that contaminate the air, water and land.

The disputed power plant

The CFPP project is under Global Luzon Energy Development Inc. or GLEDC in the small town of Luna in La Union.

In September 2016, the Department of Energy approved a grid impact study on the GLEDC’s proposed 670-megawatt power-generating facility covering the villages of Cariaquis and Nalvo Sur in the town of Luna.

GLEDC partnered with Manila Electric Company or Meralco for a supply of 600-MW from the plant should it be finished.

In December of 2016, concerned residents, environment advocates and non-government groups formed an alliance called Koalisyon Isalbar ti Pintas ti La Union or Coalition to Save the Beauty of La Union in a bid to stop such plan.

In 2017, amid widespread protests, two additional stakeholders, Global Business Power Corporation and Vivant Integrated Generation Corporation, have joined to participate in the creating the infrastructure.

The project worth P80 billion is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

Street demonstrations were held last July of 2018 to protest the start of the construction based on GLEDC’s timeline.

It was scheduled last August, but did not push through.

In October, the private proponents received the environmental compliance certificate or ECC from the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR.

Luna’s pebble beach

Luna, named after Filipino hero General Antonio Luna, is home to many tourist destinations, such as the pebble-filled beach, Mt. Kangisitan, filled with endangered flora and fauna, and vast irrigated farm lands.

Aside from Luna, rich biodiversity can also found in nearby municipalities of Balaoan, San Juan, Bacnotan, San Gabriel and San Fernando. San Fernando, in particular, is touted as one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines.

“All of these will be degraded and eventually destroyed once the CFPP starts spewing toxic chemicals,” the advocates stated in the petition.