By Kalikasan PNE
In a statement released today, the environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said the signing of Climate Change Commission (CCC) Resolution 2016-001 by outgoing President Noynoy Aquino, authorizing a six-month review of the country’s national energy policies towards a low-carbon development pathway, was “better late than never.”
“We needed an honest-to-goodness review of our energy policies five years ago, which should have guided the 2012 Philippine Energy Plan and should have served as a sunset review of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) a decade after its passage. Pollutive energy has burgeoned since then. Especially in the context of our commitments to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributions in the recently signed Paris Agreement, it is critical for this national review to finally stem the aggressive expansion of dirty fossil fuels in the country’s energy industry,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
Kalikasan said Pres. Aquino’s last-minute ratification of the Energy Review, however, was a tokenistic move that screamed of hypocrisy, citing the unabated increase of coal power plant contribution to the country’s total power generation from 31 to 39% of the total energy mix.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continued to dish out permits in rapid succession during the last quarter of 2015, amidst the Aquino government’s grandstanding in the United Nations Conference of Parties in Paris discussing the new climate agreement,” Dulce noted.
“If Aquino really wants to save face, he still has the power in his last month in office to suspend or cancel all contracts and permits of coal-fired power plants that have not yet started,” said Dulce.
Meanwhile, youth climate action group 350 Pilipinas counseled the CCC and the new administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to heed the unlearned lessons from the previous administration, beginning with ensuring that the National Energy Review will truly address the pro-privatization framework of the current policy regime that prioritizes cheap but dirty fossil fuel sources.
“The incoming Duterte presidency should immediately impose a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants if the Aquino regime refuses to do so until its last minute. Now that he has a national mandate, Duterte should see how grassroots villages that host these dirtiest of all power facilities suffer from massive pollution and ecological disruption,” said Zeph Repollo, coordinator of 350 Pilipinas.
“Duterte should ensure that the National Energy Review will be a concrete step towards the repeal of the EPIRA, which has allowed private energy companies to prioritize the construction and operation of dirty coal-fired power plants and prevented incisive government regulations. He must ensure that the power industry will significantly reduce its dependence on imported coal, oil and gas, and increase the power generation coming from indigenous and renewable energy sources,” explained Repollo.#