Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2 coal plants to rise soon in Subic

By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority has issued an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to a company that is part of a joint venture which has proposed to build two 150-megawatt coal-fired power plants at the Subic Bay Freeport.

This was learned from former Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II who furnished the Inquirer a copy of the ECC issued to the Taiwan Cogeneration International Corp., a partner of the Aboitiz Energy in the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RPEI), the project’s proponent.

The ECC was issued on April 4 this year.

“The proponent was not known to have held public consultations before that date and yet, SBMA issued it an ECC. We have never been informed that it was issued an ECC,” he said, adding that his copy was obtained from an SBMA source.

SBMA ecology chief Amethya dela Llaka-Koval did not answer the Inquirer’s request to confirm the ECC.

DENR review

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said the ECC is “still subject to the review and validation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources” since it is an environmentally critical project.

Arreza said Lacbain was “not accurate” in saying that no public hearings were held.

Hearings, he said, were held for investors and residents of the freeport.

The project’s site is in Sitio Naglatore in Barangay Cawag in Subic town, which is still within the jurisdiction of the SBMA, he said.

The DENR, he said, has ordered the holding of public hearings in Subic town and Olongapo City.

Oscar Cabayanan, Central Luzon director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, on Friday said he does not have any information yet if the Environmental Management Bureau central office has issued an ECC to the project.

RPEI Director Miguel Aboitiz on Wednesday confirmed that the SBMA had given it an ECC.


Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr. and the city council have objected to the plan of RPEI to build and operate the coal-fired power plants.

A resolution, approved by the council on Aug. 27 and approved by Gordon on Aug. 28, cited environmental safety and public health as bases for turning down the project.

Gordon and the council urged the RPEI instead to “consider safer alternative sources of energy for Subic Bay.”

“The proponents… assure relatively low emission and the lowest environmental impact possible. Even so it does not discount the fact that harmful emissions will definitely affect lives and the livelihood of communities in the next 50 years. There must be no tolerable and acceptable levels of pollution so as not to compromise the health and welfare of the environment and the communities,” the resolution said.

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