MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The San Juan municipal council on Monday, March 11, passed an ordinance declaring the town coal-free via a unanimous vote.
Authored by councilor Miguel Corleone Magsaysay, Resolution No. 03-2019 declared the municipality of San Juan environment-friendly and coal-free.
The ordinance also bans the construction, development, and operation of coal-fired power plants in San Juan.
The town council passed the resolution as Global Luzon Energy Development Corporation (GLEDC) prepared for the construction of a 670-megawatt coal-fired power plant in neighboring Luna town, a project strongly opposed by residents and environment advocates who also want a local anti-coal ordinance in Luna.
Magsaysay said the ordinance is a victory for the town, and thanked all those who supported the initiative.
Tina Antonio, one of the resource speakers invited by the council during its hearings, described the ordinance as "a collective opposition to potential and existing coal-dependent industries, as well as a call for developers to seek alternative sources of energy generation."
Antonio, president of the San Juan Hotel Resort Restaurant Association, also urged her fellow voters to support leaders who would "protect" them.
"As voters, we are obligated to protect ourselves. This means we should also vote for leaders who could protect us," she said.
Romeo Camacho, legal counsel of La Union's anti-coal groups, welcomed the development as it further strenghtens the voice of advocates in the region against coal-fired plants.
"With the Manifesto issued by Bishop Daniel O. Presto and the clergy of La Union, the Resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, La Union Chapter both condemning the proposed CFPP and then this, we feel invigorated and elated for finally our vision of a coal-free La Union is slowly being realzed," Camacho said. – Rappler.com