Subic stakeholders hail CA ruling stopping coal plant project

Randy Datu

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The decision, they say, is a victory for the environment

NO TO COAL PLANT. Several groups oppose the construction of a coal-fired power plant project in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Photo by Randy Datu

SUBIC, Philippines – Stakeholders of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone hailed the decision of the Court of Appeals this month, stopping the construction of a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant inside the zone.

“A day of delay for RP Energy Inc. is another day of victory for the environment,” said Gregorio Magdaraog, president of the Subic Bay Chamber for Health and Environment Conservation (SBF-CHEC).

The 8-page ruling, penned by Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the project owner, RP Energy; the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to pursue the project.

It also struck down two amendments to the project’s Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued July 2010 and May 2011, respectively, by the DENR.

The CA also invalidated the June 2010 Lease and Development Agreement (LDA) entered into by RP Energy with the SBMA.

With this most recent court decision, Magdaraog said the stakeholders expect SBMA to finally stop ongoing site development.

“RP Energy has no legal right to continue site development in Redondo Peninsula. They have no valid LDA and ECC. SBMA should furnish us a copy of the site inspection report as promised,” he said.

“We call on the SBMA board of directors to uphold and honor the results of the Social Acceptability Process, which they themselves initiated and reported to the President that overwhelmingly rejected the proposed coal-fired power plant project,” he added.

But sources within the SBMA told Rappler that some board directors, led by SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia, are bent on pushing for the coal plant.

Despite the alleged support from Garcia, however, in December 2011, SBMA called all Subic stakeholders represented by residents, business groups, indigenous peoples, workers, tourism sector, LGU representatives, and civil society groups to public forums.

In those forums, the project was firmly rejected by the majority. Protests and street rallies were launched against RP Energy.

Top officials from the local government having a stake in the Subic Freeport, including Zambales Vice Governor Ramon Lacbain, 1st district Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, and Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr., also voiced out their concerns.

A Facebook page, entitled “NO TO COAL PLANT IN SUBIC BAY,” has attracted over 6,000 members. –

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