The provincial government of Occidental Mindoro has passed an ordinance banning the use of coal-fired power plants in the province in a bid to protect its resources and protect the welfare of its residents.
In a bold ordinance approved and adopted by the city council led by vice governor and presiding officer Peter Alfaro on Dec. 5, the government of Occidental Mindoro said it is choosing clean air and growth instead of "suffering in the near future."
"World powered by natural gas would be healthier than a world powered by coal, but healthier still would be a world powered by renewables. The development of cleaner fuels requires taking serious measures to reduce the severity of its urban air quality issues and considerations on the importance of transitioning to renewable sources of energy," the province said in the ordinance.
Coal is the largest emitter among primary electricity generation sources, accounting for 30 percent of all energy related CO2 emissions, according to the ordinance, citing the October 2018 issue of The Environmental Magazine.
"Of all energy resources, coal is one of the most injurious to the environment and health. Further, coal by-products cause a lot of pollution, which contributes to global warming and climate change," the province said.
By passing the ordinance, Occidental Mindoro adds to the roster of six provinces in the Philippines that have banned coal-powered energy projects.
These are Guimaras, Masbate, Ilocos Norte, Negros Oriental, Bohol and Sorsogon.
In place of coal, the province shall pursue clean and renewable energy projects.
"The Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro shall continue to pursue clean and renewable energy projects; promote renewable energy programs in the province for the sustainable protection of wildlife and biodiversity where the island Mindoro Island harbors one of the world’s unique assemblage of endemic and threatened species of fauna, and to protect children and other vulnerable subpopulations from exposure to certain environmental pollutants," it said.
The province said the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 provides that it is the state’s policy to encourage the development and utilization of RE sources as tools to effectively prevent or reduce harmful emissions.
This, it said, would balance the goals of economic growth and development with the protection of health and environment.
As part of the ordinance, the province will regulate all fossil fuels and ban the installation of any coal power plant in the Province of Occidental Mindoro.
Furthermore, the province will also form a policymaking council that will formulate measures encouraging renewable energy programs for a greener and energy-sufficient province.
The council shall be chaired by the governor while mayors, the businessmen, industrial sector representatives and government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Interior and Local Government will be members.