Thursday, August 20, 2009

Group calls to cancel all coal contracts

CAGAYAN de Oro City (Cagayan Journal / Aug. 20) - The aggressive issuance of coal operating contracts which will open thousands of hectares of lands to coal extraction that will feed coal fired power plants exposes further the bankruptcy of the government in dealing with climate change.

“Coal, being primarily used in power generation, has been the number one source of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses emissions that cause global warming and climate change” said Erwin B. Quinones, Campaigns Paralegal of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KsK/FoE Phils).

As of January 31, 2007 alone, DoE issued 39 coal operating contracts including that of Monte Oro Resources Energy Inc. in Catanduanes and 45 small scale coal mining permits as of April 17, 2007. By 2009, under Philippine Energy Contracting Round, DoE is offering 30 areas for coal mining covering 125 blocks or about 125,000 hectares.

“We commend the people of Catanduanes, led by the Catholic Church, in vehemently opposing the plan to extract coal in their province” Quinones said, referring to the moves to oppose 6.2B coal mine project linked to businessman Enrique Razon Jr. in the province of Catanduanes.

“We will likewise continue to support the various grassroots effort all over the country to stop coal mine companies in extracting coal, more so that it will primarily be used to fuel power generation plants that pollute our atmosphere” Quinones added.

In Southernmost Mindanao, the Department of Energy (DoE) entered into three (3) coal operating contracts (COC) covering 17,000 hectares of land in the tri-boundary of South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat Provinces.

Particularly located at Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, local folks organized themselves into Hublag Kontra Mina (HUKOM-Movement Against Mining), campaigned against coal mining and called for the cancellation of coal operating contracts issued to the MG Mining and Energy Corporation (MGMEC) whose rights and privileges under the contract was transferred to Sultan Energy Philippines Corporation (SEPC), Daguma Agro-Minerals Incorporated (DAMI) and Bonanza Energy Resources Incorporated (BERI).

Quinones added that portions of the contract areas rest in a protected zone called “Watershed Forest Reservation of Allah Valley River System as declared under Proclamation No. 2455 issued on September 12, 1985, and Kabulnan Watershed Forest Reserve under Proclamation No. 214 issued on February 08, 2000 which serves as the headwater of many rivers in the Provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Sarangani.”

The area is also part of the Surallah-Baningo Resettlement Project established by the Ministry of Agrarian Reform in 1969 and is being cultivated by farmer settlers since then.

“All Coal Operating Contracts (COSs) should be cancelled now and no more area should be offered for coal extraction from now on” Quinones demands. (Press Release)


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1 comment:

Dru Ferreras said...

Please get your facts straight.

MGMEC only transferred its rights to SEPC, and is not in anyway affiliated with DAMI or BERI.

Also, Presidential Proclamation 241 (not 214) says that if there are previous private rights in the area, these will be excluded from the Kabulnan Watershed Forest Reserve. Please be informed that a lot of CLOA holders are within the said watershed.

If you think the country would be better off importing coal from other countries than sourcing it from within our territory, then go ahead and stop all COCs. Unfortunately, though, it is not the case.

If you can find a better, WORKABLE alternative, then BE A PIONEER, instead of doing anti-mining activities to keep your foreign funding going, MR. QUINONES. Ni hindi nga kayo malapitan for assistance kapag hinihingan ng tulong ng mga maralita, ang lakas pa ng loob ninyong sabihing tagapagtanggol kayo ng kalikasan.

Makipag-kapwa tao muna kayo.