When in Manila, one of the non-negotiable places to visit for a vacation is Palawan.
The Underground River; Screenshot from a video by WWF International
However, the role of Palawan extends way beyond being a top vacation destination. It is known to be the last ecological frontier of the country, but not for long unless something is done against the the threats it is currently facing. 350.org shared a post that Cynthia Sumagaysay-Del Rosario wrote. 350.org noted that Cynthia is “currently part of the struggle to protect the Philippine province of Palawan from DMCI Holdings’ proposed coal plant project.” She wrote:
If you have already been to Palawan, you know that it is one special place. Aside from being voted as “the best island in the world” by travellers worldwide, Palawan is an environmentally critical area, hence its established identity as the “last ecological frontier of the country”.
But this jewel of ours here in the Philippines is now under threat. The government plans to place a coal plant in Palawan, the dirtiest energy known to humans. This is in opposition to the findings of the “Palawan Island Energy Master Plan” which show that hydro power is the cheapest energy source for the people of Palawan.
Palawan is one of the top megadiversity hotspots in the world. We cannot let a coal plant add to its growing list of threats. It is home to different indigenous groups whose lives will be directly affected. As well as a refuge to hundreds of marine and terrestrial endangered species. Two UNESCO World heritage sites can also be found here – the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and Puerto Princesa Underground River.
Palawan’s fragile environment is under threat. After two failed attempts in Narra and Aborlan, for the third time, DMCI is still pushing its construction in Bato-bato (San Isidro) in Narra, a community that is still suffering from the impacts of nickel mining. We cannot let DMCI ruin Palawan, especially with its blemished reputation in dealing with environmental issues. It has been issued “Notice of Violation” by DENR before when wastes from its coal-washing facility, was dumped directly into the sea, angering the fishing community of Semirara.
Join us in amplifying the local resistance against DMCI’s 15 MW coal-fired power plant. Together, we can powerfully tell the DENR Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje to stop the proposed coal plant by DMCI. Join us in amplifying the local resistance against DMCI’s 15 MW coal-fired power plant. Together, we can powerfully tell the DENR Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje to stop the proposed coal plant by DMCI.
We need to send the message that there is no place for a coal-fired power plant in Palawan — not when the people of Palawan have cheaper and cleaner alternatives readily available, not when burning more coal will cause even more dangerous climate change, and not when it would destroy our most precious remaining ecosystems.
Cynthia for Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy
The coal plant sparks a contentious debate because there are indigenous renewable energy resources that are cheaper energy options. WWF International also released a video last September to give more context on whether or not Palawan actually needs coal.
Christopher Ng, an Energy Project Officer from WWF who specializes in energy planning in Palawan wrote, “I think it would help if people write to the provincial councilors and to the governor. They should state not just the environmental facts, but more importantly the economic ones as well–about how the coal plant is not the best long-term economic solution for Palawan’s power crisis. Our studies show that the coal plant will not only make the electricity more expensive in Palawan (and in the entire country because it is subsidized) but it will also make the Palawan grid less reliable. The coal plant is too big to be operating in such a small system as Palawan.”
What about you? What do you think of this story? What do you think you could do to save our country’s last ecological frontier?