Saturay said the project proponents have downplayed these effects on communities and the marine life in areas near the power plant in Iloilo. In fact, instead of explaining the hazards of the power plant, the mostly poor residents were offered work, not knowing that aside from the marine ecosystem, they are the most affected by the power plant.
The hazardous chemicals coming from the plant, Saturay said, expose residents to cancer risks due to arsenic, a component of ash waste. He cited similar such cases in the United States.
In response to the opposition to the power plant, the local government of Iloilo earlier convened a team that would evaluate the project. But Saturay said the findings of the team were not critical enough of the project. “There is a possibility that the people in the team did not have the knowledge to critically assess the project or may be the team was designed to fail so that the project would be approved,” he said.
Saturay bewailed the government’s refusal to take the lead in development the energy sector, with the aim of finding alternative renewable energy sources. “Generally, the government wants to develop the energy sector but they do not want to do it themselves. So they will entrust it to private companies who only want profit,” Saturay said.
“The country is rich in renewable sources of energy,” said Nolasco of the Philippine Climate Watch Alliance. “The transition would be difficult but it is the responsibility of the government to harness them.” Unfortunately, Nolasco said, the Arroyo regime has done nothing but serve the interests of private power companies who push for coal-fired technology. (Bulatlat.com)