Cebu City Council Conducts Second Public Hearing on Proposed Coal Power Plant
Residents of Brgy. Sawang Calero, Cebu City and its neighboring barangays, San Nicolas, Suba, Pasil and Duljo Fatima, gathered at the Cebu City Sports Institute on April 17 to take part in a public hearing conducted by Cebu City council’s committee on environment. The said hearing was in line with the proposed 150-megawatt coal-fired thermal power plant project of Ludo Power Corporation.
Several groups and environmentalists have expressed their opposition against the coal power plants and challenged the project’s environmental-friendly claims. Engr. Roel Militar, chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of San Jose – Recoletos, raised the issue on carbon dioxide emissions against Ludo’s assertions that the company would use advanced technology in their mitigation process.
To counter the opposition of the project’s critics, Nelson Yuvallos, Ludo’s community relations officer, defended the project by presenting the technology that is also used currently by Sual Power Station in Pangasinan.
According to Yuvallos, it will be the same technology except more advanced and efficient. He also guaranteed the public that he will march with the people in case Ludo fails to monitor the project’s health and safety risks.
“I will stand by your side kung mahitabo nga dili ma-sustain ang atong mga maintenance,” Yuvallos asserted.
Dr. Helen Madamba, a physician at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, mentioned the global call against coal plants and emphasized that prevention is still better than cure.
According to Madamba, the project could have a positive economic effect in terms of providing jobs to Cebuanos. She stressed, however, that the power plant should be far away from residential areas to avoid the health risks associated to it.
“Will the benefits of additional power, income and progress outweigh the risks of health impact and environmental damages in the community? This is the question we want to be answered,” Madamba said.
Keeshia Salazar, a student and also a resident at Sawang Calero, expressed her sentiments regarding the failure of the barangay councilors to inform the residents of a public consultation about the project. According to Salazar, it is the accountability of the barangay officials to let the people know the effects of the power plant.
“Ingon ani na lang ba ta kabaligtad? The trend is toward renewable energy. This company would like us to believe that renewable energy is not an option for us right now,” Salazar added.
In an interview, Councilor Rogelio Resurreccion of Barangay Suba said that he is convinced that the establishment of the power plant would generate jobs and increase the income not only of the barangay but of Cebu City as a whole.
A meeting will be conducted by the members of the Committee on Environment on Thursday and Friday, April 21 and 22, to deliberate over the position papers of those supporting and opposing the project.