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Cebuanos tell ADB to cease funding coal, dirty energy

Naga coal power plant

Press Release
May 4, 2021

QUEZON CITY – The Power for People Coalition (P4P) and residents of Naga City, Cebu on Monday demanded a clear commitment from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to end its financial support for coal and other dirty energy projects in the Philippines and Asia through a symbolic action at the site of the ADB-funded Naga coal plant in Cebu.

The action was held as the Bank starts its 3-day Annual Meeting, as statement that the impacts of the coal power and other dirty energy projects must be a top-of-mind matter in the evaluation and updating of ADB's 2009 Energy Policy and investment decisions.

"For over a decade, ADB allowed itself to believe that its supposedly 'clean energy' agenda propelled it towards leadership in sustainability while helping achieve energy security in its member countries. That is far from the reality experienced by communities affected by ADB's coal projects," said Teody Navea, Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Cebu. PMCJ is a convenor of P4P.

Inaugurated in 2011 and currently managed by Korean Electric Power Corporation-Salcon Power Corporation (KSPC), the 200 MW Naga coal power plant is ADB's first coal power generation project under its 2009 Energy Policy and was touted by the Bank as adopting “a more environment-friendly technology by using circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion boilers". Upon entering operation, the plant was subjected to complaints from community members and concerned groups for heavy pollution and noncompliance in social acceptability and public communication requirements.

"As the Bank's executives attend their Annual Meeting in the comfort of their homes and offices, we gather here today to let them know of our health and livelihood problems, environmental degradation, vulnerability to climate disasters, and a constant fear for the welfare of future generations of our people," Navea said.

The groups led a symbolic wreath-laying activity featuring a 'tombstone' detailing destructive impacts of ADB's Naga coal plant to community members.

"We live next to a coal facility that is taking us nearer to our demise with each day it burns coal and emits toxins into our air, land and water. We know the same is being experienced by other Filipino communities. It is in solidarity with them that we urge ADB to lay to rest its dirty energy legacy and bury its support to coal and other fossil fuels in the past, so that communities like ours would no longer need to bury loved ones led to their early deaths by dirty energy," said Dominador Basaya of the Naga Neighborhood Association.

ADB is expected to publicize a draft of its updated energy policy around the time of its Annual Meeting.

"In this Annual Meeting and its new energy policies, we hope the Bank chooses to initiate projects that would help communities like ours access clean and affordable renewable energy sources, of which we know our country is rich in," Basaya said.

Last week, P4P including several groups and community organizations from Cebu, submitted to the Bank a joint Philippine civil society statement urging ADB to end its dirty energy legacy and align to the 1.5°C Paris ambition.

"ADB’s Energy Policy is severely outdated in the context of the global energy transformation and the climate emergency, the deadliest manifestations of which are already being experienced in our country....ADB is about to make a critical decision that will define its role in global energy transformation and addressing the climate emergency. We urge it to choose to finally end financing for coal and other dirty energy projects, and set the standard among all other development banks in climate and sustainable finance leadership," the statement read.