DAVAO CITY—Citing studies of the damage a coal-fired power plant could bring, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio junked the ordinance seeking for land reclassification for the establishment of the 300-megawatt plant in Barangay Binugao in Toril District in this city.
Duterte-Carpio said the project is prejudicial to the general welfare of the public, adding that she was “disturbed with the environmental and health implications resulting from the operation of the project.”
On November 15 the city council passed Ordinance 0200-11 Series of 2011 reclassifying the area for the proposed 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant project. The move was made upon the request of the Aboitiz Power Corp.
In her three-page message obtained by this writer, the mayor said: “The subject measure is hereby vetoed pursuant to Section 55 [a] of Republic Act 7160 on the ground that the same is prejudicial to public welfare.”
Section 55 (a) of Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code, provides that the mayor may veto an ordinance if it is deemed to be prejudicial to the general welfare.
Duterte-Carpio cited possible risks of the project to the environment and public.
In her previous media interviews, Duterte-Carpio has been saying “to explore other alternative sources of energy instead of the coal.”
The vetoed ordinance reclassified parcels of land in Barangay Binugao from protected medium industrial zone to protected heavy industrial zone.
The mayor cited the US Presidential Task Force, which was created to look at ways to alter the energy direction of the United States energy providers, that favors the trend away from coal-fired power plants.
“It would seem, therefore, that allowing the establishment of a coal power plant in our city is to adopt a power source technology which is now being rejected in most part of the world, most especially in the US, because of the environment hazards it poses to our planet and humanity,” said Duterte-Carpio, adding that introducing it in the city would be a step backward rather than forward to progress.
Dr. Jean Lindo, convener of No to Coal Davao, commended the mayor’s decision, saying it is a people’s victory.
But Lindo added that they would remain vigilant because “there might be ways to overturn this.”
The City Council has yet to vote during their plenary session next week whether to override or accept the veto.
The city has 26 councilors, and they must have 18 votes to override the veto. Twenty-one of them have voted for the ordinance reclassifying the plant site.
Also, majority of the council members believe the plant will bring economic benefits to the city and will help in the current energy crisis in Mindanao.
As of this writing, sources from Aboitiz Power Corp., one of the biggest power producers in the country, said they have yet to release a statement on the mayor’s veto.