First District Rep. Edgar Chatto said that Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, a known environment advocate, commended Bohol for its “no-to-coal” policy citing the province as a model for the drive against coal-fired power plants in the country.
According to Chatto, Legarda made the statement during a meeting of the House of Representatives’ special committee on climate change on Wednesday and is set to formally cite Bohol and other anti-coal provinces next week in a privilege speech.
Legarda was part of the Philippine delegation to the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Madrid, Spain and is set to talk about the conference in Congress next week.
“I think one of the highlights ana [privilege speech] na ma-honor tong mga probinsya na nag-adopt og ‘no to coal’ policy,” Chatto said.
Chatto, quoting Legarda who is a congresswoman of Antique, said that the Western Visayas province followed Bohol’s example in adopting an ordinance to keep the locality coal-free.
The former Bohol governor attributed his province’s strong coal-free drive to the Boholano public who voiced out their stand against coal power plants.
The anti-coal ordinance was approved by the Bohol Provincial Board amid mounting public pressure on the provincial government for including coal-based companies among power applicants vying for a slot in the bidding process in 2018.
Provincial Ordinance 2018-005 adopts the “no to coal” policy in the competitive selection process (CSP) of new power suppliers under the One Bohol Power program.
“Ako silang giingnan na didto sa Bohol dili lang kay ang Provincial Board naa miy Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group na maoy strong na naminaw sa mga taw…unya ang mga taw g’yud mismo ang dili gusto na mo sud ang coal,” said Chatto.
The province’s three distribution utilities, the two Bohol Electric Cooperatives (BOHECO I and II) and Bohol Light Company, Inc. (BLCI), under the One Bohol Power have started the CSP for power suppliers after they met the requirements set by the Department of Energy, Energy Regulation Commission and National Electrification Administration.
Chatto said that Governor Arthur Yap who now oversees the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group and One Bohol Power shares the same stand against coal and is moving “in the same direction.”
Earlier, Yap expressed optimism that the contract for the power generation project will be awarded in May this year.
He said that the project which includes a baseload facility that targets a generation capacity of not less than 50 megawatts is expected to be completed by 2023. (A. Doydora)