Rep. Aumentado files bill against coal-fired power plants

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Rep. Aumentado files bill against coal-fired power plants

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A Boholano congressman made public his firm objection for the opening of a coal power plant in the province.

Rep. Erico “Aris” Aumentado made sure that never in his district will this environmentally damaging power source be allowed to operate.

“I can’t block these coal power plant proponents in the entire province “, the young legislator said. However, he assured the Boholanos that not in the 14 municipalities under the second congressional district of Bohol that a proposal for said power sourcing will ever be allowed.

He formalized his opposition by way of a bill he filed last week in the Lower House.

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House Bill No. 7468 seeks to prohibit the exploration of coal and the installation of any coal-powered plants in his district and provides penalties for violators.

The Aumentado bill blocking the entry of coal power plants here came amidst the stand of the provincial government to continue entertaining the coal power plant proponents despite mounting objection from a huge cross-section of the community.

With the bill filed, no coal power plant be allowed to operate in the towns of Bien Unido, Buenavista, Clarin, Dagohoy, Danao, Getafe, Inabanga, Pres Carlo Garcia, San Isidro, San Miguel, Talibon, Sagbayan, Trinidad, and Ubay.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a resolution allowing some 52 power proponents, including four coal plant operators to still be included in the deliberation the bidding of which will follow.

The provincial government through the Bohol Energy Advisory Group (BEDAG) will allow the screening of the 52 applicants based on its price efficiency, power reliability, and its environmental impact.

“No to coal,” groups said giving the coal proponents the chance to present their companies will eventually give them “good chances” of being included and eventually winning the bidding. 

They said the coal proponents will surely pass as far as price efficiency since coal has the cheapest cost and can back up its claim to be the most reliable, considering its steady supply of power, unlike the wind and the solar power generation which are both “weather dependent” power source.

But informed sources said this is part of the pro-coal propaganda since solar technology, for instance, has existing batteries to store excess solar energy which can then be used when the sun is absent.

A highly placed source told the Chronicle the power distributors, namely Bohol Light Co., Boheco I and Boheco II, are all supporting coal power due to the business consideration being the cheapest in the local market.

THE BILL

When found guilty, violators will be imprisoned for not less than one year but not more than six years or fined not less than 100,000 but not more than ₱3 million pesos, or both – at the discretion of the court.

In his explanatory note, Aumentado said his stand aims to protect the natural resources of Bohol considering that the province’s prime economic drivers are tourism and agriculture.

Both these treasures, he explained, stand to suffer from coal plant operations. Many perfect cone-shaped mounds of the Chocolate Hills can also be found in Sagbayan town while Danao is proud of its adventure tourism.

Many towns in the district have been taking steps toward making the district Bohol’s first “Green District” by promoting the harnessing of renewable energy.

He said a coal-fired plant endangers the environment as the process entails the emission of harmful substances to the environment to include, but not limited to mercury, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, selenium, and arsenic. By themselves or Coal’s by-products, he explained, cause pollution that in turn, contribute to global warming and climate change.

The prohibition, Aumentado added, is geared at protecting people from the negative and harmful effects of operating a coal-powered plant.

So far, of the three Bohol congressmen, only Rep. Aumentado has taken a firm stand against coal power plant.

Rep. Rene Relampagos and Rep. Art Yap have not issued their press statements on the proposed coal mine in Bohol. Both are out of the country when contacted by the Chronicle.

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