MANILA (UPDATE) — The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) supports the proposed $250 million waste-to-energy investment project in New Clark City in Tarlac for its "sustainability," according to the firm involved in the plan.
The Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation (MCWMC) and Plambeck Emirates in January announced the proposal to upgrade its sanitary landfill into a waste-to-energy facility that "will utilize waste as fuel."
BCDA President and CEO Aileen Zosa said the proposal is a "good fit" for the community's sustainability, the MCWMC said in a statement released to the press.
“We want to make New Clark City a livable, walkable, sustainable, and efficient community,” Zosa was quoted in the statement as saying during the 20th anniversary celebration of MCWMC.
In a Facebook post last March 24, the BCDA Group said Zosa on that day welcomed the plan of MCWMC and Plambeck-Emirates because "it is aligned with the BCDA’s sustainability thrust in New Clark City and has the potential to become a demonstration project for other renewable energy initiatives in the country."
“The waste-to-energy project of Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. is the best fit for the renewable energy program in New Clark City,” she was quoted to have said.
ABS-CBN News reached out to BCDA to validate Zosa's remarks but has yet to get a reply as of this posting.
Environment Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, who attended the celebration, said they "would like to see more of Metro Clark's projects take off because this would mean more green investments pouring into our country," according to the MCWMC statement.
Cuna said that this would not only generate jobs but also lead to "lengthening the lifespan of sanitary landfills and improving our environmental outlook."
Proponents earlier said they already submitted their proposal to the BCDA in 2019. ABS-CBN News reached out to the MCWMC for updates regarding this, but they have yet to respond as of this story's posting.
Plambeck Emirates, a joint venture between Plambeck Germany and the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi, had said the waste-to-energy facility will benefit the country as it generates some 40,000 tons of solid waste daily.
The facility aims to reduce "70 percent the volume of waste" as "existing landfills are fast reaching their limit," the MCWMC said.
Once constructed and fully operational, the waste-to-energy plant can be considered the first in New Clark City and the Philippines.
Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said in a message to ABS-CBN News last April 7 that his agency is "open to all new and emerging technologies pertaining to solid waste management."
However, "as a regulator, it is the policy of the Department to refrain from endorsing or 'backing' any specific private sector waster-to-energy technology or project."
The DENR in 2019 issued an administrative order on waste-to-energy facilities to make sure these will follow emission standards under the Clean Air Act of 1999, Clean Water Act of 2004 and Toxic Substances, Hazardous, and Nuclear Waste Act of 1990, the MCWMC noted.
Last year, the Department of Science and Technology said it is exploring the use of waste to generate energy, with a pilot project currently setup in Los Baños, Laguna.
Environmental groups have said waste-to-energy plants are harmful to public health and the environment.
[Editor's note: An earlier version of this article attributed some remarks to DENR Sec. Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, as stated in the MCWMC press release. But DENR Usec. Jonas Leones and Juan Miguel Cuna later clarified to ABS-CBN News that the latter attended the MCWMC event in his capacity as Undersecretary for Field Operations - Luzon, Visayas and Environment, and that the message he delivered was his own and not Yulo Loyzaga's. The proper attribution is reflected in this updated version.]