The latest news in Eastern Visayas region

Follow samarnews on Facebook

more news...

Eastern Visayas inflation rate declines to 1.8% in September

Pre-school show “Tish Tash” all set for worldwide distribution

Tourism road leading to Talustusan falls in Biliran now halfway complete

Beware of the Judas Iscariot syndrome

Bridge detours damaged by TS Quinta in Biliran completes restoration

China asked to listen to the people to make BRI “people-centered”

Filipino startup wins in global pitch competition

PH gov’t maltreatment of Nasino and child violated int’l standards on prisoners, children


GSat Eloading Service



Delineating the socio-economic impact of coal-fired power plants on everyday life

November 10, 2020

Against the backdrop of controversy surrounding the effects of coal-fired power plants on people’s lives, I embarked on an original study regarding the socio-economic impact of 4 major Philippine coal-fueled power plants in Luzon and Visayas Islands. The data generated highlighted the personal perspective of residents living in close proximity to the coal plants.

Included in my research were the Calaca Power Plant in Batangas, Luzon (600 megawatts); the Mariveles Power Station in Bataan, Luzon (651.6 megawatts); the La Paz Coal Plant in Iloilo, Visayas (164 megawatts); and the Masinloc Coal Station in Zambales, Luzon (630 megawatts).

I limited my study to residents living with a quarter of a mile from the coal plants and randomly sampled 410 out of 3,000 households, resulting in a 99 percent confidence level, with a 6-percentage-point margin of error. Personal interviews were guided by a questionnaire tapping perceptions of coal operations’ impact on the environment, health, income, and life satisfaction, as well as, evaluation of the value and future of coal plants.

Environmentally, an average of 92 percent of respondents felt that they enjoyed cleaner air before the coal plant's establishment in their villages. Sounder sleep, pre-coal plant, was reported by 89 percent of respondents. A sizeable majority of 74 percent observed that overall environmental quality deteriorated post-coal plant; only 16 percent thought otherwise.

Health-wise, an average of 80 percent of the sample believed that they had better health before the coal plant's installation. Fewer illnesses, pre-coal plant, were indicated by 77 percent of the sample. The most frequently cited diseases were lung disease, asthma, primary complex, cough, colds, skin allergies, cardiovascular diseases, fever, infections, headache, and diarrhea. The root cause of these diseases was the coal plant, according to 69 percent of the sample.

As to economic well-being, the average daily income of respondents from Calaca, La Paz, and Mariveles decreased with statistical significance from P199 pre-coal plant to P105 post-coal plant.

Masinloc's average daily income increased from P285 pre-coal plant to P623 post-coal plant. Statistically, however, this increase was not significant. In effect, there was no change in the average daily income.

Life satisfaction was negatively impacted by the coal plant. Seventy percent of declared that they were happier, pre-coal plant. Only 14 percent disagreed. Seventy percent said that their quality of life was better, pre-coal plant. Only 11 percent believed otherwise. Nineteen percent were uncertain about the coal plants’ impact on life satisfaction.

Regarding the usefulness of coal plants, 45 percent opined that these energy sources brought about more costs than benefits. Only 21 percent saw coal plants as more beneficial than detrimental.

Asked about the future of the coal plants, 61 percent preferred a future without coal plants. Only 17 percent desired a future with coal plants. Fifty-seven percent signified that if they had the power, they would shut down coal plants as soon as possible. Only 20 percent expressed support for continued power plant operations.

In conclusion, it is my hope that environmental decision-makers worldwide consider scientifically-derived data before crafting and implementing environmental policies and laws. An integral part of these processes must be grassroots consultation. My research reveals that only 45 percent of households were consulted by government agencies. Participatory democracy must be ingrained in the political zeitgeist for countries to succeed in their complex search for cleaner but reliable and economically viable renewable energy which benefits the public weal.

• FREDDIE R. OBLIGACION. The author, a senior management consultant, mentor and scholar of the environment, gender, race, and social psychology, holds a PhD and MA in sociology from the Ohio State University-Columbus, MBA and BS Psychology (magna cum laude) from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He is currently studying the social-psychological correlates of environmental activism, gender inequality, and racism, as well as, presidential polling techniques and leadership preferences.