By Joe Zaldarriaga | Daily Tribune
There is mutual benefit in the simultaneous development of both the agricultural and industrial sectors of a town in generating self-sustaining effects on its economic growth. Both sectors perform complementary roles that become equally advantageous.
The agro-industrial development of Atimonan is part of the LGU’s socio-economic development program that it hopes will contribute in increasing the local residents’ income, create more jobs and strengthen markets in both sectors
As productivity in the agricultural sector increases, it produces more food and raw materials which the industrial sector purchases and transforms into higher value-added finished products. Higher productivity in the agricultural sector increases farm incomes, allows households to spend more and, with the large rural population, becomes a strong market for goods produced by industry.
Local government units (LGU) are extremely crucial components of such development since they have the most active role. They must be guided and empowered to regulate land use.
This is the main reason why the municipality of Atimonan, one of the most progressive towns in the province of Quezon, recently firmed up plans to chart its development as an agro-industrial center, anchored on agriculture and tourism.
Located on the western shore of Quezon province, 173 kilometers southeast of Manila, Atimonan is blessed with both natural and historical riches. The local government officials of this first-class municipality are looking forward to the development of their town in partnership with the private sector.
If the Philippines does not use available new technologically advanced fossil fuel power plants using cleaner technologies, power costs may rise sky-high.
Atimonan Mayor Rustico Joven Mendoza together with his able staff recently accepted the final Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) documents from environment planner, Grandt Planners. Mendoza said CLUP seeks to achieve a synchronized development, supported by an adaptive infrastructure system in the municipality.
A fast-growing town known for its cleanliness, beautiful beaches, and historical and natural scenery, the agro-industrial development of Atimonan is part of the LGU’s socio-economic development program that it hopes will contribute in increasing the local residents’ income, create more jobs and strengthen markets in both sectors. It will also further close the gap in living standards with the more industrialized urban areas.
Among the key industrial infrastructure projects to rise soon in Atimonan is a 1,200-megawatt high-efficiency low emission (HELE) coal power plant which, pending approval of a government permit, will be constructed by Atimonan One Energy (A1E), a subsidiary of Meralco Powergen.
Former Public Works Secretary and now CEO and president of Meralco PowerGen Rogelio “Babes” Singson said there is a need to replace old and ageing power plants in the country to boost the available reserves and avoid potential power interruptions. Unfortunately, the use of modern clean coal power technology is an issue which so-called cause-oriented organizations seem to be unable to wrap their heads around.
I totally agree that coal may not be the cleanest way to generate electricity, but new HELE technologies have greatly reduced any adverse impact on the environment, including in the town of Atimonan. If the Philippines does not use available new technologically advanced fossil fuel power plants using cleaner technologies, power costs may rise sky-high. If the country closes coal-fired plants today, it will not only be paying an arm and a leg for the electricity it needs. It will have to deal with power shortages that will cripple the economy and bring misery to the poorest of the poor.
While construction of the power plant has yet to commence in Atimonan despite receiving a Certificate of Energy Project of National Significance, A1E has been busy partnering with the town’s LGU to help local residents enhance their livelihood and living conditions.
A1E in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Philippines Foundation also rolled out last year the New Carinay Housing Project in Atimonan where a significant number of families residing in Sitio Carinay, Barangay Ibaba were awarded with new single detached houses with power and water supply, and toilet and bath, as well as proper sewerage system. They were also provided with technical vocational training programs to sustain their livelihood.
With CLUP, the LGU of Atimonan envisions to transform this beautiful gem into a smart city and a key tourist destination south of Luzon.
We are living in a democratic country where any person or organization is free to decry government and private programs. I just hope we can all be on the same page in terms of achieving the common good, working towards sustainable development, rather than pushing our own personal interests and agenda that may be a bane to progress and development.