Sual residents protest construction of coal plant

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2018 12:36 PM

MANILA - Members of the Save Sual Movement and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice protested in front of the Office of the Ombudsman against the impending construction of a 1,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant in the Pangasinan town.

The group went to the Office of the Ombudsman to show support for SSM President Rosanna Marie Soriano who had a meeting with Mayor Roberto Arcinue and his grandchild Councilor JC Arcinue regarding the supposed harassment against SSM members and non-consultation on the proposed coal plant.

According to Soriano, their pictures were plastered on tarpaulins at the town plaza as those who “oppose progress” as they protested against the plan of Phinma Energy, which eventually backed out of the project.

Soriano also said they received a letter from Councilor Arcinue blaming them for the botched project.

She said they are also opposing talks between the Sual municipal government and another investor.

“Tinututulan natin ang second coal plant dahil sa idudulot nito na kasamaan sa aming kalusugan. Nakita na namin ang epekto nito sa aming kapaligiran,” Soriano said.

Mayor Arcinue however underscored the importance of the construction of a power plant in their town.

“Pag walang additional po sa Pilipinas, magkakaroon tayo ng energy crisis, kaya ine-encourage ito ni President Duterte,” Arcinue said.

He also denied the claims of SSM that power plants are hazardous to the health of his constituents.

“The Sual Power Plant has been operating its power plant for 17 years. There is no pollution in the air, water and land,” Arcinue said.

PMCJ Secretary General Aaron Pedrosa said their request for assistance at the Office of the Ombudsman led to an agreement of both sides that a dialogue will be held in Sual.

But he added that complaints of alleged irregularities in government projects against Mayor Arcinue were also filed before the Ombudsman.

“Halimbawa yung pagpapagawa ng reclamatin project para sa isang seaport, ang problema walang permit at mayroon ding mga quesitonable bidding sa ibang proyekto."