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Pacquiao opposes coal-fired power plant

September 25, 2009 16:17:00
Aquiles Zonio
Inquirer Mindanao

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines -- Finally, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has made a stand against the establishment of a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Sarangani Province.

Boxing’s pound-for-pound king aired his personal stand on the controversial project in his column titled “Kumbinasyon” dated Sept. 24 and published in PhilBoxing.com.

The International Boxing Organization and Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight champ had never taken a categorical stand on the issue and was even evasive when asked about his personal stand before.

“Lubha akong nababagabag sa balitang magtatayo raw ng isang (200)-megawatt na Coal-Fired Power Plant sa Maasim, sa Sarangani Province at ngayon pa lang ay ihinahayag ko ang aking pagtutol sa pagtatayo nito dahil na rin sa mapinsalang dulot ng ganitong uri ng power plant (I am extremely bothered by the news of the construction of a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Maasaim, Sarangani province and I am now voicing my opposition to its construction because of the deleterious effects of such a power plant),” Pacquiao wrote in his column.

Pacquiao, who is also the head of Task Force Luwas Kinaiyahan-Mindanao, noted that coal-fed power plants were being gradually phased out and shut down in different parts of the world, including the United States, due to their negative impact on the environment.

Yet, he said, we continue to build such kinds of projects in our country.

As head of the environmental task force, Pacquiao promised to protect the environment, which he said was the source of his strength and the giver of life for all mankind.

The Filipino boxing hero vowed to join the Church, indigenous people, the academe, the Muslims and the youth in opposing the establishment of coal-fired power plant.

He doubted whether the project, which is perceived as a health hazard and an environmental menace, has the genuine approval of the people of Maasim.

He even cited a study claiming that fossil-fueled power plants were the leading sources of harmful greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

“The use of coal as fuel is also the main source of acid rain and the pollution of air that we breathe,” he said.

He said there are alternative sources of power which are not harmful to the environment such as solar energy.

Floro Letegio, parish priest of Sta. Cruz in Maasim, hailed Pacquiao for taking a stand against the coal plant project.

“It is good that he has made a stand on the issue. We hope that soon he would also make a stand against mining,” Letegio said.

He said Pacquiao’s pronouncement would greatly help boost the campaign and the morale of various groups opposed to the coal plant project.

The coal-fired power station is a project of Conal Holdings Corporation (CHC), a company owned by the family of incumbent Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez, in partnership with a Thailand firm, Egko.

The project proponent is doing everything just to allay public fears of environmental degradation once the P21-billion project goes on stream.

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