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Coalition holds Black Saturday protest

THE Power for People (P4P) Coalition-Cebu held a protest last April 3, 2021, which was Black Saturday, to condemn the continuous use of coal and expensive electricity rates in Cebu, which drive ordinary Filipinos to Calvary at this time of the pandemic.

In a statement sent to Cebu Business Week, P4P highlighted the lingering effects of coalfired power plants in the country, particularly Cebu, which currently has one of the highest power rates in the Philippines.

“The effects of coal-fired power plants in human and environmental health have long been established. These plants emit greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming which can contribute to the emergence or transmission of infectious diseases like Covid-19. We have been sourcing majority of our energy requirements from coal because it was said to be cheaper than any other sources. And yet, most of the areas in the Philippines such as Cebu still suffers from high cost of electricity,” said Teodorico Navea, Cebu coordinator for Philippine Movement for Climate Change 

As of January 2021, the residential power rate of Visayan Electric Company (VECO), the second largest electric utility in the Philippines, stood at P11.7286 per kilowatt hour (kWh), sourced from 246-MW Global Power Corporation of the family of the late George Ty of Metrobank, 200-MW KEPCO-SPC Power Plant in the City of Naga, 300-MW coal plant of Aboitiz Power subsidiary’s Therma Visayas in Toledo City.

The Aboitiz oligarchy owns Aboitiz Power, Therma Visayas, and VECO.

Cebu consumers bear the brunt of high cost of electricity and impacted by the operations of dirty, costly, and deadly en energy projects. Such reality will continue to effect burden to the poor and the marginalized sectors of the Philippine society,” said Remegio Javier, president of Pier Tres United Ambulant Vendors Association (PUAVA), a consumer representative.

The protest began with a one-hour community discussion on power and coal situation in Cebu, followed by a symbolic procession to depict the plight of electricity consumers who bear the brunt of the high cost of electricity and dirty energy.

“The extensive use of coal is one culprit for the high price of electricity in Cebu. Banks should put their foot down and stop funding these projects,” said Avril de Torres, head of the Research, Policy and Legal program of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development. PR