Revoked and Restrained

December 6, 2013 marked two victories for Palawenos who are fighting against the coal-fired power plant project of DMCI.

First, the newly installed Barangay Council of San Juan, Aborlan passed a resolution that revoked their predecessors' endorsement of the coal plant. How this development will be received by the proponents and by the Governor of Palawan, a staunch supporter of DMCI, remains to be seen.

Second, the homegrown advocates of No To Coal who organized and called themselves SAFE (Save Aborlan From Evils) went to court for a temporary restraining order. A few hours after the announcement of the resolution's revocation, the Regional Trial Court of Palawan under Judge Joselyn Dilig issued a 72-hour Temporary Environmental Protection Order or TEPO. It prohibits the Palawan Council of Sustainable Development from issuing a SEP clearance to DMCI until the court clarifies the issue.

These twin victories were capped by the visit of Lolita Carbon, the voice behind the famous 70's band, Asin. Lolita Carbon held a free concert where she gamely sang with Palaweno talents. She vowed to come back to support the No To Coal initiative via a concert cum rally.

We are hopeful that the odds will be on the No To Coal side in the coming days and weeks. Little victories such as these serve as inspiration among the defenders of Palawan against environmental destruction.


Below is an article written by Mr. Joey Mirasol and posted originally at Bantay PALECO. It serves  as an exposition on the current power situation in Palawan. 

Due to much hecticity, have not posted much lately. But it’s nice to note that the No To Coal group has added Paleco to their gunsight, Paleco being the culprit behind the controversial coal plant that has divided our citizenry and raised doubts about the quality of our new provincial leaders.

The truth is now clear. The coal plant will not solve our electric power crisis. No additional power will be added to the existing 55MW of dependable generating capacity. DMCI has fulfilled their supply contract of 25MW using their diesel gensets, and the coal plant will only serve to increase DMCI’s profitability by allowing them to retire their less pollutive diesel gensets and shift to highly pollutive but less expensive coal. Need we help raise David Consunji’s ranking above being the #5 richest man in the Philippines?

Our power crisis is not caused by a lack of supply but by poor transmission and distribution facilities, problems not caused by the power producers but by Napocor and Paleco. The main order of business is to improve our transmission and distribution facilities, not to protect the power generators. Wasn’t it stupid on the part of Paleco to bid out power requirements way in excess of what we need? Our peak load as at October 2013 was 27MW, and even assuming a high demand in December of up to 30MW, we have an unused excess generating capacity of 25MW. Did Paleco ensure DMCI’s bid by requiring 25MW, when we could have done with 15MW through 2016? In doing so, Paleco disqualified renewable energy providers, who could only offer no more than 16MW within the 2 year time-frame given in the bid guidelines prepared by the consultant who is rumored to be allied with DMCI. Clear and simple bid rigging, don’t you think?

Our provincial leadership is obviously misinformed. Their desire to assure supply when needed may have led them to endorse the coal plant. But Paleco’s forecast demand will not consume the excess supply till beyond 2016. Paleco reports that as at September 2013, the status of electrification is 89% of 288 barangays province-wide. If by some miracle all were to be electrified today, we would need only an additional 3MW to supply the total requirements. But of course not all of the 31 barangays awaiting energization can be supplied without first running transmission and distribution lines, which should have been Paleco’s priority. PNoy’s ongoing sitio electrification program will also help increase the number of barangays electrified with off-grid systems for those that are in the islands or are very remote.

Our leaders are also under the impression that there are no serious renewable energy investors available, thus they may as well approve coal. Wrong again, because there is a serious hydro power provider that has been ignored by Paleco and a biomass power proponent (although this would again involve pollution because of wood-burning) waiting for a power supply agreement from Paleco. Due to the excess capacity, Paleco is not inclined to consider any other power supply provider, whether this be fossil fuel or renewable sources. Did Paleco create a coal monster that they are stuck with?

The solution to our power crisis is to improve the management of Paleco. We have a board made up of 3 overstaying directors, 1 past the qualified age, 2 who are mortal enemies, and the rest bystanders. Add to that an unqualified general manager, and you have a totally inept, self-serving and morally bankrupt management. Let us not forget that Paleco is our cooperative, it belongs to us members, and only we can do what is necessary to effect the much needed changes that will ensure a service-oriented, transparent, accountable and effective electric cooperative.

I have been waging a quixotic war against the GM and the board since September, to no avail. I have gone to the extent of filing a verified complaint with the NEA against the appointment of GM Sarra, who thick-facedly clings to her illegally-appointed position. I now need the help of the members to effect what needs to be done, which is to declare the positions of the entire board and general manager vacant.

Let us sign the No To Coal group’s petition to hold a general assembly, during which we should file a resolution to declare said positions vacant, and elect an interim board to serve for one year with the task of amending the cooperative’s by-laws and improving the service of Paleco, conditioned with the proviso that those elected to the interim board can no longer run as directors or apply for management positions in Paleco.

Are you all willing to do this for the good of our cooperative?

The Truth As Told By PALECO

There is no need for a coal-fired power plant in Palawan.

Right after the No To Coal Rally in Puerto Princesa City on November 28, 2013, the protesters proceeded to the Office of Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO). 

Here's a firsthand account of what transpired in PALECO as narrated by Mr. Tom Kutat, one of the Aborlan-based leaders of those opposed to the establishment of the coal-fired power plant:

"Wala ang PALECO General Manager, no'ng pumunta kami sa Paleco Office, buti at nakumbinsi namin ang naroong supervisor at spokeswoman na magpaliwanag. Hindi nila pweding sagutin ang issue sa legality ng PSA, Manager at Board lang ang may say doon. We asked the present status ng Paleco; sa weekly monitor nila, ilang makina ang under preventive maintenance, kaya 46MW lang ang total available power supply ng Paleco, mula sa tatlong supplyer, PPGI, DELTA P, at DMCI, ngunit ang Peak Load sa linggong ito ay 28MW lang, may 18MW na sobra. So bakit may BROWNOUT pa, ayon sa paliwanag nila, may problema pa sa SUBSTATION ng Narra, kayang-kaya supply-an ng Paleco Puerto ang kakulangan sa power supply ng Narra Substation, ngunit may problema sa Narra Substation and/or sa Transmission Line, hindi na sya nag-elaborate. Nagkakaroon ng Load Shedding sa Aborlan, Quezon at Inagawan dahil under preventive maintenance ang isang makina sa Narra Substation. Kung ayos lahat ng makina, ilan ang total generating capacity ng Paleco, 54MW daw. Question; Kung maitayo ang Coal Plant sa Aborlan, ilan na ang magiging total generating capacity ng Paleco? Parehas pa rin, 54MW pa rin, dahil ang PSA ng Paleco at DMCI ay 25MW lang, may 25MW Diesel Generators na ang DMCI sa Irawan, kaya na-comply na nila ang PSA. Gusto nila magtayo ng Coal Plant sa Aborlan para mixed ang kanilang supply sa Paleco, at bababa daw ng kaunti ang singil sa kuryente. With this mga kasama, makikita natin, na kahit hindi na magtayo ng Coal Plant sa Aborlan, na-comply na ng DMCI ang kanilang kontrata."

Let me translate this narration in English: 

The PALECO General Manager was not in her office when we arrived but it's good, we were able to convince the supervisor and spokeswoman to explain.

They cannot answer on the issue on the legality of PSA; it's only the Manager and the Board of Directors who are authorized to speak on the matter.

We asked about the present status of PALECO.

Based on their weekly monitor, some generators are under preventive maintenance and so the total available power supply from PALECO is only 46MW from the three suppliers, namely, PPGI, DELTA P, and DMCI. But the peak load this week is only 28MW, so there is an excess of 18MW.

So why are we still having brownouts?

According to their explanation, there is a problem with Narra Substation. PALECO Puerto Princesa City can very well supply the power deficiency in Narra Substation but there are problems with Narra Substation and/or transmission line. They did not elaborate further.

There was load shedding in Aborlan, Quezon, and Inagawan because one of the generators in Narra Substation is under preventive maintenance.

If all engines are working, what would be the total generating capacity of PALECO?

54 MW.

Question: If the coal plant in Aborlan will be constructed and becomes operational, what would be the total generating capacity of PALECO?

It would be the same, still 54 MW, because the PSA of PALECO and DMCI is only 25MW. DMCI  has an existing 25MW Diesel Generators in Irawan so they have already met the PSA. They want to construct a coal plant in Aborlan so they will have mixed supply to PALECO and thus lower the cost of electricity a little.

With this, my colleagues, we see that even without the coal plant in Aborlan, DMCI has already complied their contract with PALECO."

Watch this video courtesy of Ms. Marlene Jagmis for the actual explanation of the PALECO spokesperson:

So you see, there is no need for a coal-fired power plant in Palawan. The more that we must say NO TO COAL IN PALAWAN!


1. Blackouts are caused by a lack of generating capacity – FALSE.

The majority of blackouts are caused by ground faults, equipment failures and lack of protection in the distribution system. Since January, 2013, the generating capacity on the Palawan mainland grid has increased from 40Mw to 54Mw. The number of blackouts, however, has actually increased significantly compared to the same period in 2012.Because of obsolescence and lack of capacity in the distribution grid, increasing demand from commercial and residential consumers is actually exacerbating the blackout problem. The distribution system must be modernized to provide redundancy and a sectionalized grid arrangement to avoid total system failure. Additional substations are required to provide magnetic isolation to protect the generation sector.

2. Palawan needs more power generation capacity – FALSE.

There are many views on the generation needs of Palawan. Future needs depend on demand growth with is directly related to GDP growth in Palawan. The national average demand growth for the Philippines is 4.4%. PALECO forecast a growth in demand for Palawan of between 12-18% per year and the contract with DMCI is based on this optimistic projection. Despite this possible over-contracting of generation capacity if developers can be found to invest their risk capital in putting up renewable energy facilities to be used as and when they can generate, each renewable kilowatt hour will save NPC and Philippines electricity consumers Php 6 and will save Palawan electricity consumers 12% VAT. Renewable energy development is without any risk to the consumers, or NPC whereas fossil fuel use is dependent on international market prices the risk of which is borne by NPC and Philippines consumers.

3. No serious proposals for renewable energy development in Palawan have been made – FALSE. 

This is a seriously misleading statement. Since 2007, proposals for hydro development under valid renewable energy service contracts with DoE have been made on at least 5 separate occasions to both PALECO and NPC. All proposals have been ignored. In order to finance development it is first necessary for proponents to have an electricity sales contract which has proved impossible to obtain despite considerably lower tariffs than fossil-fuelled options having been consistently offered.

4. There is a lack of investor interest in renewable energy development on Palawan – FALSE.

The Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry receives many inquiries from foreign and domestic firms and funding agencies inquiring about development opportunities for renewable energy on Palawan. There are currently three private firms, two of which hold renewable energy service contracts with government, which are active in the development and pre-development stages of installing solar, biomass and run-of-river hydro power plants on mainland Palawan. Work on the hydro plants has been ongoing continuously since 2007; despite this it has proved impossible for the developer to sell the power to be produced. The problem is not a lack of investor interest, but the existence of policy, political, and bureaucratic constraints and a lack of clear guidelines for development and implementation of renewable energy on Palawan and throughout the Philippines.

5. Renewable Energy is too expensive – FALSE.

In most cases, the initial capital or fixed cost of renewable technologies  is higher than conventional fossil-fuelled alternatives but this cost is borne by the developer and NOT the consumer or the UCME. Renewable technologies generally have much longer life cycles than fossil options and have no or very low fuel costs. Examples are run-of-river hydro, PV solar and wind power. At present, run-of-river hydro has a much lower TCGR than the proposed coal-diesel plant and requires no subsidy. It is expected that photo voltaic (PV) solar will soon reach grid-parity (equality) with coal-fired plants. In addition to lower generation rates, renewable energy requires little or no subsidy and consumers are exempt from payment of the 12% value-added tax (VAT). The net result of integrating renewables into the power mix is lower rates and reduced subsidy requirements. Both are good for the consumer and for the government.

6. Renewable Energy is Intermittent and inherently unreliable – FALSE.

All renewable energy is dependent on nature. Different technologies have different operational characteristics; wind and solar power vary directly in accordance with the weather. Hydro power varies only seasonally and in any event the plants proposed for Palawan have impounded water which can be used for top up power generation in dry periods. In addition, research by the International Energy Agency proves conclusively that renewable technologies are inherently more reliable and have only 10% of the breakdown time experienced by fossil fuel generation plants.

7. The subsidy to maintain low electric rates on Palawan is derived from the Malampaya Fund – FALSE.

Subsidies come from the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UCME), a fund which derives revenue from every electric consumer in the Philippines and which is “topped up by NPC”. The level UCME is set by the regulator the Energy Regulatory Commission. The total consumer bill is divided in to three major components: the generation charge, the cost of distribution and the 12% value added tax. On Palawan, the generation charge is heavily subsidized. The real cost or True Cost Generation Rate (TCGR) is about P12.50 per kilowatt hour on the Palawan mainland grid. Consumers are charged only P6.5896 per kilowatt hour. The difference of about P6 per kilowatt hour represents the subsidy provided by the UCME. Consumers on the Palawan mainland grid used slightly more than 160 million kilowatt hours in 2012. The subsidy required to maintain the P6.6 generation rate was nearly one billion pesos. Adding in the subsidy required to maintain rates in off-grid municipalities or mini-grids brings the subsidy required to more than P1.3 billion/year.

8. PALECO’s activities are governed by DoE and ERC – FALSE.

PALECO’s activities are governed and overseen only by the General Manager and Board of Directors. The mandate of DoE is for national energy policy and planning only and that of the ERC to fix power rates. As PALECO are members of the Cooperative Development Association they are not yet under the supervision of the National Electrification Authority. Local government has no authority over the acts of PALECO – this is exemplified by the provincial council having issued three resolutions; two to PALECO and one to DoE/NPC to utilise available hydropower. Each request has been ignored.

9. Coal power will be converted to biomass/natural gas 3 years after start of operations – MISLEADING. 

While there are a few examples internationally of such fuel conversions these have been achieved with great technical difficulty and are only now in pilot operation modes. Fuelling 15MW of power with biomass requires 30+ tons/day/MW or 450 tons of wood per day. An earlier contract between PKReco and PALECO using biomass wood chip technology was cancelled due to the technical unfeasibility of this technology. The option of using natural gas (NG) seems logical, but is in fact, infeasible. The cost of pipeline transportation of natural gas from Malampaya to onshore Palawan is prohibitive given the size of the Palawan market. It was only just feasible to pipe the NG from Malampaya to Batangas to feed a power demand of 2,600MW. The Palawan market of about 40 MW is far too small to justify such an investment..

10. Electric Power Rates are higher on Palawan than in Manila – FALSE.

The subsidized rate Palawan consumers pay for electricity is nearly the same as the rate paid by MERALCO customers on the Luzon grid (see PALECO website). At present, the rate on Palawan is about P10 per kilowatt hour. However, adding in the P6 per kilowatt hour subsidy brings the true cost to nearly P16 per kilowatt hour.

11. Clean coal technology will be used by DMCI – FALSE.

“Clean” coal technology does not yet exist. There is no process available which can economically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuelled power plants. Carbon dioxide emissions are the main cause of climate change, the results of which we are all experiencing recently in changing weather patterns. Technology does exist for removing or lessening some harmful emissions from coal fired power plants but it must be remembered that DMCI proposes to use coal from their Semirara mine which is a low quality “dirty coal” and thus has a low heating value [it is necessary to use more of it] and produces higher emissions than good quality coal.

12. DMCI will lower the cost of power to Palawan consumers – FALSE.

The cost of power generation to Palawan consumers will remain at the ERC set rate of Php 6.5896/kWh plus VAT. Only the use of unsubsidised renewable power can lower the cost of electricity to Palawan consumers as consumers do not pay VAT on renewable energy.

13. The Palawan power system is fully privatized – FALSE.

Despite claims by DoE that the Palawan power system was fully privatized in 2004/5 it is still heavily dependent on NPC who provide and operate 13 MW or 20% of the province’s diesel power. In addition, NPC owns and operates the 69Kv backbone transmission line. This fundamental misunderstanding causes tensions between NPC and PALECO to the detriment of an efficient power delivery service to Palawan consumers.

14. The power sales and purchase contract between DMCI and PALECO is fully effective –FALSE.

The Power Supply Agreement is not yet fully effective as no subsidy agreement has been signed between PALECO/NPC and DMCI. Additionally DMCI have failed to meet the contract requirements for the commercial operations date of their diesel plants and have even failed to meet an extended date granted to them by PALECO.

15. Hydro power developers were disqualified by PALECO from bidding in the2012 CSP – FALSE.

PALECO’s bidding terms required bidders to offer 25MW of guaranteed dependable capacity (GDC) – no renewable energy contribution was allowed as part of the specified 25 MW (GDC) as renewable energy was deemed “intermittent and not reliable”. The hydro developer did, however submit an “alternative bid” but this was again ignored by PALECO. 

(This article was originally posted in Puerto Princesa Watch [] by Diana J. Limjoco on November 18, 2013)


Since 1990, the entire island of Palawan has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

"The Palawan Biosphere Reserve is a cluster of islands composed of one long main island and smaller groups of islands around it. The 1,150,800 hectares of the biosphere reserve include the entire Province of Palawan Island, which is the westernmost province of the Philippines." (see


The main characteristics of a biosphere reserve are:

  • Achieving the three interconnected functions: conservation, development and logistic support;
  • Outpacing traditional confined conservation zones, through appropriatezoning schemes combining core protected areas with zones where sustainable development is fostered by local dwellers and enterprises with often highly innovative and participative governance systems;
  • Focusing on a multi-stakeholder approach with particular emphasis on the involvement of local communities in management;
  • Fostering dialogue for conflict resolution of natural resource use;
  • Integrating cultural and biological diversity, especially the role of traditional knowledge in ecosystem management;
  • Demonstrating sound sustainable development practices and policies based on research and monitoring;
  • Acting as sites of excellence for education and training;
  • Participating in the World Network.


Biosphere reserves harmonize conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and economic and social development, through partnerships between people and nature. They also contribute to the transition to green societies by experimenting with green development options such as sustainable tourism and training for eco-jobs.


Absolutely NO. The approval of the coal plant is inconsistent with the nature of Palawan as a biosphere reserve. It is not in harmony with conservation of biological and cultural diversity since coal fired power plants are known to be damaging to human health, to biodiversity, and to the natural physical environment. In effect, it has negative impact on the economic and social development of a biosphere reserve. The use of coal, the dirtiest fuel source known, does not promote the greening of societies nor promote green development options since it is destructive to the natural environment.


It is inevitable that the distinction as a biosphere reserve will be withdrawn from Palawan, without which, its sustainable development will be sacrificed.


It is important that sustainable development of Palawan must be pursued. We demand that the approval of the coal fired power plant project of PALECO and DMCI be scrapped the soonest possible time. Coal plants are being dismantled around the world. There is no such thing as "clean coal" so this project must be junked.

We propose that the provincial government of Palawan pursue renewable energy sources in unity with the world's effort to control  global pollution. We can be the leader and model in renewable energy. It only takes a working conscience, a heart for Palawan, common sense, and righteous political will.


Is there really a conspiracy? Let's see.

1. Semirara is owned by the 5th richest man in the Philippines, David Consunji of DMCI (

2. Semirara Mining Corporation mines coal in Caluya, Antique. It has experienced significant loses and  expects earnings to recover in the second half of the year on the strength of its power generation business, offsetting the weakness of its coal mining operations. ( Take note, DMCI is losing money thus it enters power generation business.

3. DMCI was contracted by Palawan Electric Cooperative to construct a 15-MW coal fired power plant in Narra, Palawan but it was met with protests so they relocated the project to San Juan in Aborlan, Palawan ( 

(PALECO alleges that there is a need for additional power to address the incessant brownouts. However, PALECO's report of October 2013 says that power is sufficient. See

4. Barangay officials of San Juan went to La Paz, Iloilo and conducted an ocular inspection/interview of people who claimed that the coal plant poses no risk to the environment. Their claim runs counter to what was reported in Panay News (

5. Despite the strong opposition of the people of Aborlan as expressed in a series of public consultations and barangay assemblies, the Sangguniang Bayan (Legislative Body) approved a resolution endorsing the project to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. They timed it when the Kagawads who are opposed to the project went out during a brief recess of the session. The Municipal Mayor of Aborlan approved the endorsement without second thoughts for he sees no reason to disapprove a project which he perceives to be pro-development. He explained that if ever he vetoes the resolution, the Kagawads will endorse it anyway so why delay the process? (

6. Before October ended, when virtually every Palaweno was busy cleaning the tombs of their dead, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan held a special session to approve the 15-MW coal-fired power plant. The news was aired in a local radio station and it caught many by surprise. (

7. On November 4, 2013, the people of Aborlan staged an indignation rally to express their anger towards the action of the Sangguniang Bayan, perceived to be traitors to the people who elected them to office. You see, Aborlan residents did not waiver in expressing their opposition to the project(

8. Vice Governor Dennis Socrates calls the decision to approve the coal-fired power plant as "political will" and that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan decided "in favor of development" (

9. Governor Alvarez was consistent in his support of the project from the start as he verbalized during DMCI's education campaigns in a local university, in providing trucks to haul alleged YES TO COAL supporters from other communities, and as he expressed during a radio interview where he belittled the number of Aborlan residents who oppose the coal plant. He has claimed repeatedly that the coal plant is safe, contrary to the information found in reputable sources cited by environmentalists and scientists. 





The Proposed Site For Coal Plant Is Flood-Prone

Atty. Jaime J. warns about a neglected fact: the area where the coal plant will be constructed is a flood-prone area.

My fellow Palaweños I was looking at the geohazard map of possible flooding in Aborlan from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Among the towns in Palawan, I'm worried about Aborlan and Narra the most. You can see that there's a big red zone in the shores of Aborlan near San Juan, the proposed site of the DMCI Coal Fired Power Plant, and you will see that the entire island of Rasa in Narra, the former site of the proposed DMCI Coal Fired Power Plant, is also in red zone. This means that there's big possibility of flooding in this areas. This is comparable to the tidal waves in Furushima, Japan which decommissioned some of their nuclear power plants and polluted the sea with nuclear waste. 

In the mountains of Aborlan and Narra there's lot of red zones which means that there's big possibility of landslides near Aporawan where there's an abandoned mine site of San Miguel Corporation or the Sorianos. In the news today, allegedly the cause of the leptospirosis epidemic in Olongapo City was caused by an abandoned mine pit inhabited by rats.

I hope DMCI consulted the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Geohazard Maps in arriving at its decision to construct the Coal Fired Power Plant in San Juan, Aborlan.  I hope this will help us in arriving at a better judgment and for DMCI to look for other options. Thank you!

A Palaweno Reacts To Vice Governor

This post is Tom K.'s weighted reaction to Vice Governor Dennis Socrates' remarks on the approval of Coal Plant in Aborlan originally posted by Gabriel M. Tom K. is a resident of Aborlan, Palawan)

Honorable Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, 

Are those really your words, or you're just made to read it?

It does not present any ETHICAL DILEMMA nor it involves any VIOLATION OF THE MORAL LAW? For your information, not a single resident of San Juan raised a hand in favor of this coal plant during the 3 public hearings conducted by the ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE of the SANGGUNIANG BAYAN,, the same committee who acted on the PETITION of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF SAN JUAN to REPEAL the ENDORSEMENT OF THE BARANGANY COUNCIL.. IS THE SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF ABORLAN COMPOSED ONLY OF ONE COMMITTEE? 

You claimed 60% of the power supply in Luzon comes from coal-fired power plants, whereas Malampaya claims to supply 40% of Luzon’s power needs..So where do the HYDROPOWER PLANTS of Luzon and the GEOTHERMAL PLANT of Tiwi supply their power? 

You mentioned the thousands of households that are still in the dark ages; DMCI will never connect these households to their Coal Plant.. It is the responsibility of PALECO, while the real problem is, POLITICAL WILL, which is VERY LONG OVERDUE.

Our beloved Governor garnered an avalanche of votes in the May 2013 election; You knew pretty well how he won, the people knew very well how he won.

Precisely 80% of PALAWEÑOS are living below the poverty line, i’ve heard this long ago in the 2004 campaign of Ex Governor Joel Reyes,,, THE SAME LINES OF PROMISES...

You should have waited and studied it for another 9 months,,, then and only then you can call the SANGGUNIANG PANLALALAWIGAN AN AUGUST BODY

PALECO October 2013 Report Shows Power Supply is Sufficient in Palawan

This is a repost of Mr. Joey Mirasol's commentary on the October 2013 report of Palawan Electric Cooperative. 

Based on the October Paleco report on generation and peak demand, it is obvious that there is actually no lack of available power supply in Palawan. The excess available supply is even more than the peak demand!

Why then must we allow the DMCI coal-fired plant? DMCI has already met the supply requirement of 25MW in their contract. They bid and won to supply 25MW at a rate of P9.36/kwh based on a combination of coal/diesel generation. This bid was not dependent on the approval of a coal-fired plant, DMCI assured the public that the rate and supply would be firm even if the coal plant would not be approved. Therefore, their computations already included a reasonable profit, as otherwise they would have bid higher.

It is disappointing to note that our elected officials have approved the coal plant, despite questions regarding environmental and health concerns. The coal plant will not add to our existing capacity, this will only add to the profitability of DMCI. Instead of for the common good of Palawan, our elected officials are now proponents for DMCI’s welfare.

The No to Coal movement has been branded as a hindrance to Palawan’s progress and will discourage investments in our province. What potential investments are now on hold because of the need for power more than the 25MW surplus available? If it is true that we need more than 25MW to attract investors, there is enough time to develop renewable sources of energy like hydro, wind and solar. Sure, the capital cost may be higher, but the effective cost of power will be less, excluding the benefits derived from using clean and non-extractive fossil fuels. 

Palawan is a unique province, even a special law was enacted to ensure its sustainability. We can remain so and still be progressive, if only our leaders exercise due diligence and remain socially responsible.

DYAP Radio's Interview With Aborlan Vice Mayor

Below is the transcript of interview done by Jay Zabanal of DYAP Radio with Aborlan Vice Mayor ARISTON MADEJA. The transcribing was painstakingly done by Karis Faith Monteclaro Zaldivar of Aborlan, Palawan. Capitalization was changed, spelling was improved, and some missing letters were supplied to shortened words to help ease reading. Other than that, no other changes were made on her transcription.

JAY ZABANAL: with all due respect, yong desisyon po natin na bigyan ng endorsement base lang po sa Iloilo hindi po ito naka base sa technical working group dahil hindi na nakasubmit ng pag aaral ang technical working group po natin?

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: naka... nakakwa din.. marami rin ang napuntahan nila..yan lang nga walang mga dokumento na ano kundi talagang ano lang nagresearch lang talaga sila, nagtanong lang, nagpunta sa mayor, nagpunta sa mga barangay official, pero walang dokumento na sila ay may appearance na nagtanong sila kaya nga wala pero sila nakolektang information.

JAY ZABANAL: Kasi hindi po yan nakakarating sa atin sir, yan po ay nakakalungkot.

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: hindi naman kasi makakwan, na ano rin namin na, parang wala naman epekto kasi nakakontrolado siya kasi mimonitoring. pag lumampas siya don sa NOX sa SOX mamomonitor magkakaroon sila ng violation. doon sa batas natin, na mayroong control pinapayagan ng coal fired power plant sa Pilipinas pero may batas na sinusunod.

JAY ZABANAL: so sir ibig sabihin po talaga nagdesisyon po tayo na bigyan po ng endorsement kasi hindi natin kayang magbigay, makahu ng ika nga ng masusing imbestigasyon kaya ipa-sangguniang panglalawigan pati PCSD ang desisyon pero yon po ang ginawa nating desisyon kaya binigyan natin ng endorsement, hindi dahil alam natin yong Pros and Cons nong ano ika nga ay coal plant?

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: oo nga, kaya nga inendorse namin sa term na provisional na endorsement,kaya nga yon ang aming na kwan na term para maparating don sa sangguniang panlalawigan at makarating sa PCSD. kaya nga kasi sila talaga mag aaral kasi ang PCSD ay ang sustainable development of Palawan kailangan masunod ...

JAY ZABANAL: meron na po tayong nakuhang technical study mula DMCI?

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: meron, pero di pa nga naano, kasi yon nga di pa rin nacocomply, may ordinansa din kami ah regarding sa endorsement at dapat lahat comply nila ang mga requirements... naendorse namin na hindi sila nakapagcomply ng lahat na requirements. na endorse sa sangguniang panlalawigan pero po may mga .. provisional endorsement dahil hindi din namin , o hindi din nila macomply lahat kasi don sa sinasabi IEE Initial Environmental Examination ay dun din sa PCSD..

JAY ZABANAL: sa wari po ninyo, sa inyong palagay tama po ba yung ginawa ninyung desisyon even without sabi nga po ninyo kanina. kanina nyo po inuulit na medyo kulang po ang data natin. sa palagay po ninyo tama ang inyong desisyon natin na mag ah mag bigay o maglabas ng desisyon even po kahit medyo kulang po talaga, galing po sa inyo ang impormasyun na medyo kulang po ang hawak po natin na datus sir?

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: kasi po doon sa endorsements namin, ay merong pasubali na kung sila ay pagdating ng PCSD pagcomply na nila lahat ang mga requirements ay ibabalik muli dito sa sangguniang bayan ng Aborlan para final na eendorsement, dito naman sa sanguniang panlalawigan .....

JAY ZABANAL: Vice ano po ang mensahe natin sa mga tao na matindi po ang pinupukol po sa atin?

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: aah.. nais ko lamang po iparating sa akin mga kababayan, dito sa bayan ng Aborlan lalong lalo na po sa barangay San Juan at WPU, ang layunin po ng sangguniang bayan ng Aborlan ay talagang hindi masama. kami po ang layunin namin ay pro development, kaya lang nga nagtatalo kami doon sa kanilang mga internet sa mga ibang bansa na ang coal ay masama, pero dito naman sa pag-obserba namin sa Iloilo parang maganda rin kaya nga kami kung baga sa kwan, wala pa kaming desisyon talaga na.. na...aa... sigurado na yan ay tanggapin na, kaya nga yan sinasabi na kami ay nagkaroon ng endorsement pero for temporary lang na pag-aralan don sa higher na agency na sila po ang nakakaalam.. kaya nga sana.. sa mga kababayan ko wag kayong magalit nang husto sa sangguniang bayan kasi matagal na po nahuhuli na po ang bayan ng Aborlan. so kung tayo po ay sarado ang kaisipan natin sa development parang hindi na mag-angat ang Aborlan. kaya nga isa sana yan na malaki po ang economic development yan kasi malaki ang real property tax dyan at saka sa barangay may share din ....

JAY ZABANAL: may gusto nyo po ba mag-iwan ng mensahe sa kapamilya natin lalo na po sa medyo alam natin medyo matindi na po ang binabato sa sangguniang bayan ng Aborlan?

VICE MAYOR MADEJA: oo marami, talagang hindi lang bato, pati pag personal sa amin, talagang pinepersonal na kami, pati ang pagkatao namin na wala pong concern sa coal, talaga kami pinepersonal na parang tingin ko parang napupulitika na rin, marami pong mga pulitiko na sumama sa anti........ (at naputol ang linya)


This is the transcript of the Committee Report which led to the approval of DMCI's proposed coal power plant:

October 29, 2013

Hon. Ariston T. Madeja
Municipal Vice Mayor/Presiding Officer
Sangguniang Bayan of Aborlan
R. Magsaysay, Aborlan, Palawan


The Committee on Environmental Protection, Enhancement and Natural Resources, on which the above subject was referred to has the following findings and recommendations to wit:


1. The Sangguniang Barangay of San Juan, Municipality of Aborlan has favourably endorsed to the August Body the proposed 15MW Circulating Fluidized Bed Coal Power Plan of the DMCI Palawan Power Corporation at Sitio Marikit, San Juan, Aborlan.

2. A series of public hearings and consultations has been conducted with the constituents of Aborlan, Palawan regarding the proposed project on different dates and venues wherein some of he constituents had expressed disapproval on the project for fears of possible environmental impacts.

3. The initial impression of the Sangguniang Bayan of Aborlan on the proponent’s proposed project, was that it is for the best interests of the people of Aborlan in particular, and for the people of Palawan in general, considering that time element is of the essence as it is a public knowledge that the Province is currently experiencing frequent blackouts, considering further that the compliance by the proponent of the Resolution Ordinance No. 1, Series of 2006 is necessary, but obviously it would still take for quite sometimes.


Based on the above facts, the Committee on Environmental Protection, Enhancement and Natural Resources hereby recommends to the Sangguniang Bayan for the favourable provisional endorsement of the Coal Fired Power Plant of the DMCI Palawan Power Corporation to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan subject to the National and Local Laws pertaining to the environment and other related matters and the final endorsement by the August Body being subject to the compliance with Resolution Ordinance No. 01, Series of 2006 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Aborlan, Palawan. 

Submitted by:

Committee on Environmental Protection, Enhancement and Natural Resources

Mayor Jaime Ortega of Aborlan, Palawan Explains The Approval


Dahil doon sa nakita ko sa Iloilo ha, sa pag-iinterview namin sa kanila, sila mismo kasama doon sa iniinterview namin, nakita ko na wala namang masama na idudulot itong coal power plant..ha.kaya nagdesisyon ako nong binigay sa akin yong papel na tutal yon eh wala rin akong magagawa/ i-veto ko man yan, sa loob lang ng 5 days o ilang days, ibabalik din sa akin ng Sangguniang Bayan yan dahil as a majority sa committee ng environment ay pitong kagawad ang pumirma.i-veto ko man yan, lalo lang mapapabilis at wala ring saysay ang pag-veto ko. sa loob ng 15 days or 10 days na hindi ko pirmahan yan, eh mapadala rin yan sa province. kaya inisip ko bakit aantalahin ko pa na doon din pupunta at nakikita ko na makakatulong ito sa bayan ng Aborlan. kaya tumayo na ako bilang political will ko na gusto ko din umasenso itong bayan ng Aborlan kaya pinirmahan ko. walang pumilit sa akin, ginamit ko ang sarili kong utak na sinasabi nila na ako ay bobo pero inano ko ang damdamin ko doon para sa mamamayan ng Aborlan. Kaya pasensya po sa inyo na alam kong kayo ay tutol, hindi ko pinapakialaman ang inyong mga desisyon kaya sana wag nyong anuhin yong aking desisyon. kung mali po ang aming ginawa, malaya po kayo, iparating nyo sa korte, haharapin po namin nang maluwag yan. at kung kami ang nagkamali, haharapin namin sa taong bayan yan. ang sa akin lang po, ako ay nanghihinayang kung ito'y ating pawawalan dahil unang una po andito si mam evelyn. ang iloilo ilang population mam? (500. almost 500 thousand) dito tayo ay nasa trenta mil lang mahigit. at ayon pong power plant na itatayo natin ay 15 megawatts lang. doon sa ___ sa inyo mam ilan? (164 megawatts (?) tapos dadagdagan pa nila ng hundred fifty ...) at yon ay syudad! sa dami ba ng tao sa syudad kung yan eh nakakamatay o nakakabigay ng di maganda, yong mga tao ba don eh tatahimik lang?


Teka muna. Eto sasagutin kita dyan. Yong pag-public hearing ba ng Sangguniang Bayan at pag-approve nong resolusyon na ipapadala dito sa akin, hindi pa ba sapat yan na batayan na yan ay idinaan na nila sa tao? Ako pa ba, ako bilang mayor, ako pa ba ang magpapublic hearing?(Alam mo naman na hindi nila sinunod eh!) sa tingin ko, hindi naaayon sa batas yan! may batas tayong sinusunod! sino na mga proper na tao! (nagkaroon ba ng public hearing?) eh di tanungin mo sa sangguniang bayan! (murmur) sandali, dahan-dahan tayo. ang trabaho ng legislation.. magbasa tayo ng local code. ang trabaho ng sangguniang bayan ay maglegislate. ako ay mag-execute lang. ministerial lang ang sa akin kung anong lumabas sa kanila, pag inaprubahan nila. ano ang power ng isang mayor? (Kahit na mali?) o eh anong gagawin mo eh yon ang lumabas sa sangguniang bayan? pwede kong i-veto, pwede kong di pirmahan pero yan ay tutuloy at tutuloy rin. (At least hindi mo sinunod yong maling gawain nila). o? kahit di ko masunod eh ano rin? ah hindi. nakikita ko ring tama yong gagawing project. bakit hindi ko tatayuan na.. bakit hindi ako sasang-ayon? lalo kung makakabuti? dahil tayo'y disinuwebe barangay ah? disinuwebe barangay wag nating iintindi sa isang barangay lang! dahil ang bumubuhay sa Aborlan hindi lang ang barangay san juan. labingsyam na barangay tayo na nangangailangan. at eto eto. ihahayag ko sa inyo. kung talagang ayaw ng san juan, bakit nanalo si grace dantic? na yes na sya ang pinag.. inaano ha. sya ang inaano bakit nanalo sya? (hindi, hindi basehan yan eh) hindi, pakinggan ninyo. bakit nanalo? ibig sabihin lamang pa rin ang may gusto! (hindi totoo yan) eh eh.. 


Vice Governor of Palawan's Remarks on the Approval of Coal Plant


Honorable Board Members, distinguished guests, friends in the gallery, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

The vote this morning leading to the passage of this Resolution (favorably endorsing the 15-megawatt coal-fired power plan in Aborlan) is a political decision. By unanimous vote of the Members present, this august body has decided in favor of development.

The question of endorsing the proposed coal-fired power plant in Aborlan is not complicated. It does not, in itself, present any ethical dillemma. This will not involve any violation of the moral law. 

Nor is there any real issue concerning the impact of the proposed project to the health and safety of the residents of the locality, or the environment, which are matters addressed to the further technical evaluation of personnel of the various government regulatory agencies involved, including our own Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. Indeed, around 60% of the power supply in Luzon comes from coal-fired power plants, which are allowed precisely because they pass the standards set by our national scientific-technical regulatory agencies.

The only issue before us, therefore, is whether or not we want development.

The proposed project responds to an urgent need for electrical power supply in Palawan not only to meet the existing demand (our present supply is unstable and hardly meets demand because of antiquated generating equipment), but even more important, to electrify—to connect to the global economy—the thousands of households in mainland Palawan alone that are still in the Dark Ages; and not only that: to allow as well investments to come in.

But like all political decisions, our choice will not be pleasing to everyone. There is opposition based on the ideology of conservation; and there is opposition based on a sentimental attachment to the status quo, to keep things as they are, and to maintain the rural or even deep-forest ambience of the town. We respect their positions. 

But on the part of the political leadership of the provincial government, under the leadership of our beloved Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez, the overwhelming mandate from the electorate—manifested in an avalanche of votes giving him an unprecedented majority in the May 2013 elections—has been precisely for change—Pagbabago—which seeks to raise the 80% of Palaweños who are at present living below the poverty line to at least the level of the middle class; and, hopefully, to fly Palawan from third world to first in nine years. This will not happen without rapidly increasing the supply of electricity by at least three times within such period, to power the industrial estates, five-star resorts and hotels, massive housing, transportation, and port requirements, hospital and other service facilities, and yes, call centers, as well as others we may not yet be capable of visualizing.

While there are other possible sources of energy, there is no other serious proponent in view apart from the coal-fired power plant seeking our endorsement to take the further steps towards its eventual operation. Nor do we see any cogent reason to deny the endorsement sought. 

Furthermore, our beloved Governor has obtained an undertaking from the proponent, incorporated as a condition attached to our endorsement, to shift from coal to bio-mass fuel, and to design its equipment to allow such shift, in the event that the latter should become less expensive than the former—which is most likely to happen—and which will provide livelihood for thousands of families in Aborlan who could then be growers of the bamboo that can be used as substitute for coal.

In our system of democracy, the elected representatives are the voice of the people. The proposed project has been endorsed by the Sangguniang Barangay of Barangay San Juan, Aborlan, and by the Sangguniang Bayan of Aborlan, having jurisdiction over the territory in which the proposed project will be undertaken and operated. 

The least that we in this august body can do in response to the crisis of our time is not to be obstacles to the hopes of our people to be finally and fully connected to the global network of production and exchange of goods and services; to become participants, no longer excluded, no longer marginalized; in short, to be liberated from poverty.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong suporta at pag-unawa. 

An Open Letter From A Palawan Resident

This is an open letter originally posted in Reposted with permission.

Magandang araw po.

Ako po ay residente ng Aborlan, Palawan. Nararamdaman ko ang problema ng aming lugar kaya't kasama po ako ng aking mga kababayan na lumalapit sa inyo upang matulungan nyo kami.

Pumasok po sa isang agreement ang Palawan Electric Cooperative at DMCI na magtatayo po ng coal-fueled power plant. Una na pong tinanggihan ito ng mga residente ng Narra, Palawan, ilang kilometro mula sa amin. Ngayon po, dahil hindi tinanggap sa Narra, sa Aborlan nila ninanais na itayo ang planta.

Sa ngayon po ay nagkakaisa kaming mga magkakababayan sa pagtuligsa sa proyektong ito ng PALECO dahil alam namin na napakasama ng idudulot nito sa aming kalusugan at kapaligiran. Hindi po nagkulang ang mga siyentipiko ng Western Philippines University ng Aborlan sa pagpapaliwanag ng masamang epekto ng isang coal plant. Ipinapasara na nga po sa ibang bansa pero sa amin sa Palawan, ipinipilit naman - Palawan na naturingang Last Frontier, kinilala ng UNESCO bilang biosphere reserve, at top eco-tourism destination.

Ang aming gobernador mismo ang nangunguna sa pangungumbinsi sa mga tao na pumayag na sa coal plant. Katunayan, sya mismo ang nagsalita sa harap ng mga estudyante ng WPU kung saan tinawag nyang mga sinungaling ang mga propesor ng WPU dahil sa pagsasabi daw na masama ang coal.

Ang masakit pa lalo sa amin, inendorso na ng barangay officials ang coal project kahit walang public consultation kundi base lang sa kanilang interbyu diumano sa mga taong nakatira malapit sa coal plant sa Iloilo.

Noong October 10 ay nagkaroon ng special session ang mga San Juan barangay officials. Naghakot po ng mga tao gamit ang trak ng provincial government upang magpakita ng YES support! hindi po ba tahasang panloloko ito? Nandito po ang kabuuan ng mga larawang kuha sa lugar na pinagdausan ng session:

Makikita nyo sa page na "No to Coal in Palawan" ang lahat ng larawan at sentimyento na magpapatunay ng aking mga inilahad sa liham na ito. Nawa'y matulungan nyo ang mga taga-Palawan upang maipatigil ang pagsusulong ng coal-fueled power plant sa aming lugar.

Maari po sanang maishare ninyo sa karamihan ang sulat na ito upang mas madaming makaalam ng nagaganap sa mahal nating Palawan. Kailangan po ng moral support ng aming lugar. Ang inyong pagsuporta sa pamamagitan ng pagsali sa online movement ay malaking tulong. Sana'y makarating hanggang sa media at pinakamatataas na opisyal ng gobyerno ang liham na ito. Salamat po.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong oras at atensyon.

Letter of Endorsement

Below is the transcript of the letter of the Barangay Captain and some Kagawad of San Juan, Aborlan endorsing the proposed coal fired power plant. 

Probinsiya ng Palawan

Mahal naming Gobernador:

Kaugnay sa planong pagtatayo ng coal-powered electric plant sa Barangay San Juan, Bayan ng Aborlan ng DMCI Palawan Power Corporation, kami na mga opisyales at residente ng nasabing barangay ay malayang nagpapahayag ng aming suporta para sa proyektong ito.

Napatunayan namin sa aming mga mata ng kami ay bumisita sa isang coal-powered plant ng DMCI sa Munisipyo ng La Paz, Iloilo na dahil sa bagong teknolohiya, malinis at walang masamang epekto sa kapaligiran ang naturang planta. Sa katunayan, maraming mga residente ang naninirahan sa paligid ng naturang planta na aming naka-usap at nagpatunay na walang masamang epekto sa kanilang pamumuhay ang operasyon ng nasabing planta. Sa halip, malaki ang tulong at kontribusyon ng planta sa kanilang buhay at kabuhayan, at sa ekonomiya at kaunlaran ng kanilang barangay, munisipyo at buong lalawigan ng Iloilo.

Nakausap din namin ang ilang mga sektor ng simbahang Katoliko, mga opisyales ng iba’t ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno, mga opisyales ng barangay at iba pa na nagpatunay din na walang masamang epekto sa kapaligiran ang operasyon ng planta sa kanilang lugar.

Dahil dito, kami ay lubos na nagpapahayag ng aming suporta sa proyektong ito.

Marami pong salamat at pagpalain nawa tayo ng ating Poong Maykapal.

Lubos na gumagalang,

Punong Barangay

Barangay Kagawad

Barangay Kagawad

Barangay Kagawad

Barangay Kagawad

SK Chairman

Barangay Secretary