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Expecting potential environmental impacts and harmful effects to its inhabitants and natural environment, the provincial board of Occidental Mindoro passed an ordinance banning coal-fired power plants in the province.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Occidental Mindoro presided by Vice Governor Peter Alfaro approved the local law on December 5, 2019.
In a statement released by the Provincial Government, it said that it chose clean air rather than to suffer in the near future and instead supports clean and renewable energy projects which are not harmful to the environment.
“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,” the statement read.
The ordinance gives a strong preference to other sources of energy, particularly renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro which are considered as healthier and environmentally-friendly options.
“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 ordinance said.
Pursuant to the ordinance, the provincial government would ban the installation of any coal-power plant in Occidental Mindoro and would regulate fossil fuels.
The ordinance also mandated the creation of a council that will formulate measures encouraging renewable energy program.
Included as council members are municipal mayors, business sector, industrial sector, and representatives from national government agencies including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Citing the October 2018 issue of The Environmental Magazine, the provincial government of Occidental Mindoro said coal emits a large volume of pollutants.
“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 statement from the provincial government said.
The ordinance also cited that the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 also known as the Republic Act 9513 encourages the utilization of renewable energy sources to reduce harmful emissions in a bid to protect both the environment and the public’s health.
Aside from Occidental Mindoro, other provinces in Luzon and Visayas such as Guimaras, Masbate, Ilocos Norte, Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Sorsogon — have also banned coal-powered energy projects.
Occidental Mindoro is one of the five provinces in MIMAROPA region.