The provincial board of Masbate has issued a resolution declaring the province as coal-free by prohibiting local government offices in Masbate City from issuing any permits to coal projects.
With Provincial Resolution No. 096-18, Masbate now joins Guimaras, Sorsogon, Ilocos Norte, and Negros Oriental as provinces promoting a coal-free environment.
“Further, to prohibit all local government instrumentalities in Masbate City from issuing any permit, authorization, endorsement, or any expression of support to the development and operation of coal-fired power plant facilities,” the resolution stated.
The resolution declared Masbate City as an “eco-friendly city” and in line with the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, Masbate encourages the development and utilization of renewable energy to protect and reduce harmful emissions to the environment.
“A coal plant operation threatens the natural beauty and pristine ecosystem of Masbate City such as the Buntod Marine sanctuary, which is one of the most resilient coral reefs in the Philippines,” it said.
The declaration is in accordance with the Philippine Clean Air Act, which acknowledges the adverse impact of coal combustion, not only to the environment but also to the health of the citizens.
The provincial board has banned the use of coal throughout the province as it threatens the natural beauty and pristine ecosystem of Masbate City.
Masbate envisions a brighter future ahead as more provinces aim to support the country’s tourism-based economic development.
Last month, the Office of the Governor of Negros Oriental also declared the province as an environment-friendly and clean-energy province with the issuance of an executive order.
EO No. 9, signed by Governor Roel Degamo, said the province shall “adopt a policy that all offices and local government instrumentalities in the province of Negros Oriental shall not issue any permit, authorization, endorsement or any expression of support to the development of coal-fired power plants in the province.”
Negros Oriental has also opted to utilize clean and renewable energy in its 19 municipalities and six cities to support economic growth and to deviate from activities harmful for the environment.
“Consistent with this direction, the province of Negros Oriental shall, on the other hand, strive to develop and utilize clean and renewable energy to support economic growth, and on the other hand, veer away from activities that are destructive to the environment and harmful of the Negrenses’ health and livelihood such as the operation of coal-fired power plants,” the EO said.
The new provincial executive order aims to support the national government in meeting its commitments in line with the Instrument of Accession to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was signed by the President.
The agreement identifies the critical impact of climate change and the need to immediately address this issue through carbon emission reduction programs.
Negros province also hosts geothermal, solar and hydropower projects that further boost the country’s move towards renewable energy utilization.
There are also plans for the construction of more hydro and wind projects in the province.
By: Alena Mae S. Flores