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Dec 05th
Home Sections Ecology and the Environment Private Efforts to Fight Global Warming (Part 12, as updated)
Private Efforts to Fight Global Warming (Part 12, as updated) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Ecology and the Environment
Monday, 21 May 2007 01:54

L et us try to get Congress (both in the United States and the Philippines) to pass meaningful legislation to address global warming even if it feels like we are beating our heads against a wall. But it only takes a rise of just two degrees Centigrade in global temperatures to expose millions of people to drought, hunger and flooding -- and that should inspire us to act.

Urge Congress to help stop global warming. »

What we need to do is clear:

  • Cut global warming pollution by 80% by 2050.
  • Dramatically increase the production of fuel-efficient vehicles and cleaner fuels.
  • Require utilities to generate much more of their electricity from renewable sources.

It's too late for half measures. Tell Congress to pass tough global warming legislation. »

(Part 12 of the Series on a "Filipino Version of ‘The Manhattan Project’")

In spite of the lackluster efforts of the Philippine national and local governments in addressing the impact of global warming in the country, the same is not true in the private sector.

NEWS FLASH: A multi-sectoral strategic planning workshop of government, civil society, and private sector organizations was held at Innotech in Quezon City on 15-16 April 2008. The presentations (by Manila Observatory, Green Army, PBE, DA, DENR, PAGASA, etc.) can be found at (Please see the details in the Users' Comments.)


This writer published online this report in January 2004. The report was based on an e-mail sent to this columnist by Melvin Purzuelo. I could only then publicize online the fight being waged by the Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy (RISE). And endorse the matter to associations of Ilonggo-American leaders. Perhaps the RISE initiatives can be part of the impact projects that a "Filipino version of 'The Manhattan Project'" may be able to undertake if and when the Overseas Filipinos decide to implement it.

Melvin’s e-mail:

QUOTE. Dear Bobby,

We are very grateful for your support to our advocacy against the entry of coal-fired power plants in Panay Island. Yes, we really have to present alternatives to pollutive energy sources otherwise we will continue barricading these plants if not in Iloilo then in other parts of the Visayas. More than seven years ago they tried to set-up a 50MW coal power plant in Negros Island which the Negrense vigorously rejected. From Bacolod City to Silay City, San Carlos City, Bago City then to Pulupundan the voice of the people was "No to Coal!" In Negros, the people prevailed.

About two years ago they tried but were not able to set-up a 100 MW coal power plant in the Province of Antique (they considered Tibiao and Pandan) then last year shifted to Iloilo where originally they eyed the Municipality of Ajuy, then Barotac Viejo and later Banate.

The people of these places rejected the coal-fired power plants but in the process the communities have been exposed to so much pressure. Community leaders and active members have been threatened and intimidated with social relations severely damaged. The communities do not deserve all these troubles and pain.

Shall we expect another seven years of struggle against these giant aggressors? After Iloilo where will they muddle again . . . Capiz, Aklan, Cebu, or any other place?

Admittedly these experiences also taught us to organize and assert our rights to healthy environment and sustainable development. We have formed the Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy (RISE), which is now composed of 52 organizations involved in various fields like health, rural electrification, alternative law, community development and environmental protection. This issue mobilized a broad network of professional groups (i.e., Iloilo Medical Society, Iloilo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Professionals for Social Responsibility, etc.) together with the reliable NGOs and people's organizations. (Editor’s Note: For an update, please click on this link )

Among the RISE members, the CPU-ANEC (Central Philippine University Affiliated Non-conventional Energy Center) helped establish more than eighty (80) micro-hydro/PV sites in very remote areas. Each of the sites can service 1-3 barangays and these are mostly in the upland areas or islets where connection to the main electric grids is very impractical and uneconomical. This year CPU-ANEC plans to expand 17 new areas. (Editor’s Note: To read more about the Central Philippine University, please go to

What we need now is to upgrade from `micro' to `small' hydro projects as viable alternatives to the coal-fired power plants. The total hydro-electric potential capacity of Panay is about 87.9 MW from the following sites: Mayabay, Barbaza, Antique (8.9 MW); Sumaray, San Remegio, Antique (9.8 MW); Villasiga, Bugasong, Antique (32 MW); Timbaban, Madalag, Aklan (28 MW); Daan Sur, Tapaz, Capiz (5.6 MW); Igbolo, Igbaras, Iloilo (3.6 MW).

There is also a good potential for wind energy with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US-NREL) estimating the potential in the island at 428 MW. The conservation group WWF-Phil. is setting up a wind-monitoring station in the Sebaste-Pandan area of northern Antique for a possible 50 MW wind farm.

We have indigenous resources and the technical capabilities for sustainable energy but the Philippine Department of Energy (DoE) is geared towards more coal plants. The target until 2012 of the DoE's Power Development Plan is to install 3,500 MW additional capacities of coal plants nationwide. That means massive buildup of coal plants in the Visayas and Mindanao. DoE plans to reduce the share of renewable energy in the energy mix from 37% in 2003 to only 20% by 2012 while increasing the share of coal from about 30% in 2004 to 47% in 2012.

But Coal Kills! Coal burning is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases that affect climate change. It produces oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen that causes acid rain. Coal combustion releases to the atmosphere heavy metals (like Mercury, Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Chromium), which are deadly neurotoxins and carcinogens. The coal plants planned for Iloilo will be established in the northern part of the province which is part of the Visayan Sea, one of the most productive fishing grounds of the country.

These coal plants will ultimately poison this rich coastal and marine ecosystem.

Since we cannot expect the government, especially with this administration, to really work for renewable and clean energy we have to mobilize other resources and support. And this is where we are asking for your help. We have to develop the alternatives to coal and we can only do that if we pool our skills, capabilities and resources.

An added advantage of hydro projects is that we have to protect or rehabilitate the head waters of the river systems we are using to generate electricity. We can even start the reforestation along the watersheds of the existing micro-hydro projects. Sige, we hope for a meaningful partnership

Hala bira!



We will post updates about the movement for clean energy in Panay Island. # # #

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Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2009 16:38

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