Power Shift Pilipinas national youth-led convergence takes on PH climate crisis
National day of action in Cebu to protest crises of coal expansion, energy privatization and Yolanda injustice
CEBU CITY – Over 100 youth and grassroots participants in the Power Shift Pilipinas (PSPH), a national youth-led convergence held in Cebu City confronting the crisis of climate change in the Philippines and the world, joins today a multi-sectoral march organized to protest the worsening environmental crises of brought about by coal expansion, energy privatization and injustices to victims of Yolanda and other extreme weather events.
The march will hold a picket at the Department of Energy office to air their local and national demands on the energy crisis – from the opposition to local coal power and onshore oil drilling projects in Cebu, to the legislation of a national moratorium on coal-fired power plant construction and expansion, and the repeal of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA.
In an earlier press conference, leading figures in the Philippine youth, climate and environmental movements shared their insights and support for the different causes in the PSPH convergence.
“Energy privatization caused by the EPIRA has made electricity inaccessible especially to the most vulnerable communities through warrantless exorbitant rate hikes. Private and foreign energy corporations continue with its plans to increase 165% the dirty coal energy production through 10 expansion and at least 17 construction projects. President BS Aquino III should repeal the EPIRA as it did not benefit the people with a sustainable energy solution,” said Raymond Palatino, chairperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Metro Manila, and the pioneer youth representative in the 14th and 15th Congress.
Coal is the main driver in global greenhouse gas emissions increase that mainly contributes to global warming and climate change, contributing 44 percent of the total global GHG increase in 2011. Coal is also the dirtiest source of energy, and presents massive environmental, social and health costs that adversely affect the people’s climate vulnerabilities.
“The PSPH convergence united in revitalizing a national grassroots movement opposed to the expansion of coal power projects in the Philippines. We reiterate the people’s demands for a moratorium on the expansion or construction of new coal power projects. To pave the ways towards a power industry that provides an affordable, clean, self-sufficient and renewable energy, the Aquino administration should repeal EPIRA and nationalize the said industry ,” said Zephanie Repollo, spokesperson of the Network Opposed to Coal Power Plants in the Philippines ( NO to Coal PH).
“I support PSPH’s calls to stop the various plans of coal power expansion and construction, in the same breath as we stand with the people of Palawan in opposing the construction of DMCI’s 25-MW coal power plant, threatening the province’s grassroots communities and unparalleled biodiversity and natural wealth, and the rest of the frontline communities facing the impacts of coal and climate change,” said Commissioner Naderev ‘ Yeb’ Sano of the Climate Change Commission.
“As a direct expression of the convergence’s unity against destructive and pollutive fossil fuels, we will march right at the door of the Department of Energy here in Cebu to reiterate our call for the stoppage of the planned 300-MW coal power plant and onshore oil drilling project here in Cebu,” said Patrick Torres, executive director of the Farmers Development Center (FARDEC), PSPH’s local partner.
Yolanda justice, climate justice
The PSPH convergence highlighted the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) as a portent of the devastating climate norms the Filipino people will face in the coming century if our communities’ deep-seated vulnerabilities and the increasing global GHG emissions remain unaddressed.
“We unite to rise with the people of Eastern Visayas and other victims of state neglect in disasters, calling for sustained relief, people-centered reconstruction and development, and claiming justice to hold accountable the state’s criminal neglect. 10 days away from the fifth month after Yolanda’s landfall, we call on Pres. Aquino to listen to the people’s immediate and strategic demands for disaster and climate resilience and justice,” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, executive chairperson of the People Surge Alliance, a movement of Yolanda survivors and their supporters.
“Thousands of people from the international climate movement in more than 180 countries across the world stand with the Filipino people in their struggle to claim climate justice. We stand with NO to Coal PH, People Surge and the entire Philippine climate movement as they pursue their common campaigns and advocacies, and build their unity and solidarity towards a vibrant, broad, and progressive national movement confronting the climate crisis,” said Will Bates, global campaigns director of international climate action network 350.org.