Writ of kalikasan sought for Subic power plant

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2012 03:11 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2012 06:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Several party-list representatives and environmental advocates filed with the Supreme Court (SC) a petition for Writ of Kalikasan to stop the construction of a P56 billion, 2 x 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The petition, filed by Reps. Teddy Casiño, Raymond Palatino, Rafael Mariano, Rep. Emerenciana De Jesus, Kalikasan Party-List, Advocates for Wildlife and Environment Protection, Wildlife in Need, Subic-Olongapo Cancer Foundation, Inc., and PAMALAKAYA, sought the immediate issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) to restrain the Redondo Peninsula (RP) Energy Inc., Subic Metropolitan Authority, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from pushing through with the construction of the power plant.

Petitioners claimed that prior to the issuance of the environmental clearance certificate (ECC) to RP Energy, there was no certification from the National Council on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) that the project area does not overlap with any ancestral domain.

"Ang iminumungkahing P56 bilyon na coal-fired powerplant ay itatayo sa loob ng Mt. Redondo sa Subic, Zambales... Kasalukuyang itinatayo ang proyekto sa kabila ng mga pagtutol ng mga mamamayan, makakalikasang grupo at mga lokal na business," petitioners said, in a statement.

Petitioners also claimed the plant will be hazardous to the environment.

"Ang mungkahing coal plant ay maraming magiging masamang epekto sa kalikasan at sa mga komunidad. Kasama na rito ang pormasyon ng acid rain, pag-init at acidification ng tubig-dagat ng Subic Bay, pagtatapon o dicharge ng maraming pollutants at heavy metals, at pag-iipon o bioaccumulation ng mga contaminant at ng mga toxic na materyales," petitioners claimed.

The writ is a remedy available... "on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces."

The writ is sought by petitioners who allege environmental damage already existing. However, in the case of Casino, et al., the writ is being sought for anticipated damages the project will cause the environment.

Petitioners' lawyer, Terry Ridon, told ABS-CBN News that the project is in its site development phase with RP Energy cleared to build the first phase -- the first of the 2 plants.