PIGLAS PILIPINAS: PH part of global movement to end fossil fuels
10,000 to mobilize against Batangas coal plant on May 4
MANILA, Philippines, April 6, 2016 – Church groups, concerned citizens, social movements, and civil society organizations are about to launch Piglas Batangas! Piglas Pilipinas!, a national campaign initiative against coal and other dirty and harmful energy.
The highlight of this initiative will be a 10,000-strong mobilization on May 4 in the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex to stop the building of a 600-megawatt coal plant in Batangas City and to call for a moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants in the entire country.
“It is immoral to burden future generations with pollution and the cost of mistaken energy choices made today. It is time to end the age of coal,” said Lipa’s Roman Catholic archbishop Ramon Arguelles.
Lipa’s Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEn) is leading the strong and broad local opposition to coal, which has led to a delay in the construction of a third coal plant in the province. The proposed 600-megawatt plant in Brgy. Pinamucan Ibaba, Batangas City is a project of the Gokongwei-owned JG Summit Holdings.
Piglas Batangas! Piglas Pilipinas! will kick off “Break Free from Fossil Fuels 2016”, a globally coordinated effort to escalate the fight against fossil fuels and to accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. Mass actions are scheduled until May 15 in other countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, the United States, Germany, and Australia.
“Almost 200 countries agreed last December in Paris to limit global warming, but the Philippines and many others are still putting up new coal, gas, oil and other fossil fuel projects. Through Break Free, the global climate movement will be demanding our world leaders to practice what they preach,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development, board member of 350.org, and global steering committee member of Break Free.
Other coal-affected communities and anti-coal campaigners mostly from Southern Luzon and Metro Manila will join the May 4 mobilization at the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex.
“Piglas symbolizes nationwide opposition to coal mining and coal energy, as well as other forms of dirty energy. It is appalling that there are 17 existing coal plants in the country and 29 more still in the pipeline, particularly in Quezon and Davao,” explained Ian Rivera, national coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
“The mobilization in Batangas also comes just a few days before the May 2016 elections. The future President of the Philippines should heed the call of the times and usher in a new era of the free from coal and other dirty forms of energy,” added Reuben Muni, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“We challenge the government to hasten the shift to renewable energy to prove its commitment to address climate change on its own. Why is it that more than 60% of energy projects in the pipeline are coal plants when we have abundant solar and wind resources?” asked Ruel Cabile, national coordinator of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, referring to recent figures released by the Department of Energy.
The leaders of the Piglas campaign spoke of six demands of the national campaign, namely: (1) Cancel all plans, permits and construction stage for coal-fired power plants in Batangas and the rest of the country; (2) implement a program for a swift phase out of the 19 existing coal-fired power plants nationwide; (3) close down all coal mines beginning with Semirara and cancel all plans and permits for new coal mines; (4) mobilize domestic and international climate finance and implement a comprehensive program for a quick transition to clean and renewable energy; (5) ensure a just transition to clean and renewable energy; and (6) implement a community-managed rehabilitation program for all local communities and ecosystems affected by coal plants and coal mines.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
For more details on Break Free and Piglas, visit https://breakfree2016.org/ and https://philippines.breakfree2016.org/.
For photos of the Piglas pre-launch action last March 17 in Batangas City, go to http://bit.ly/1VtRx59 (Credit: 350.org/AC Dimatatac).