By The Philippine Daily Inquirer


A group of fishermen expressed support for what could be the third coal power plant in the province of Quezon which several groups decried as another assault on the environment.

Greg de Gracia, chair of the group of fishermen called Samahan ng MaliliitnaMangingisda ng Balubad, Lubi, Talaba at Kilait based in Atimonan town, Quezon province, said his group’s support for the proposed 1,200-megawatt coal plant was the real sentiment of townsfolk.

“We live here. We work here and we will be the direct beneficiaries of the project,” De Gracia said.


Public consultation

Atimonan One Energy (A1E), a wholly owned subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen), is the proponent of the plant. MGen is the country’s largest power distributor.

De Gracia said claims by anticoal advocates about there being no public consultation about the proposed plant were not true.


No PSA  agreement

“There were several public consultations,” he said, asserting that he and his fellow fishermen attended all of the meetings.

Last week, a group of Atimonan residents, consumers and the group Power for People Coalition rallied at the A1E head office in Makati City and claimed the coal plant was being built illegally at the coastal village of Villa Ibaba in Atimonan.

The protesters said the plant does not have an environmental compliance certificate and a power supply agreement (PSA) yet.


‘Fake news’

De Gracia said the protesters, however, do not represent the fishermen from Atimonan.

“The information they are spreading is false or fake news,” De Gracia said.

He said the local government of Atimonan and its people support the project. Construction is on hold because of the absence of a PSA.

The PSA for the proposed plant is among seven pending at the Energy Regulatory Commission and which consumers’ groups were questioning. —Delfin T. Mallari Jr.