San Carlos bishop welcomes guv’s commitment to renewable energy

CBCP file photo

San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza welcomed on Thursday, November 4, Gov . Eugenio Jose Lacson’s affirmation of the provincial government’s dedication to advancing renewable energy (RE) in Negros Occidental.

Alminaza, in a press statement, cited Lacson’s welcoming RE investments and encouraging the development of means to harness energy from sources like the sun and wind.

Responding to a statement delivered by Alminaza in a House Committee on Energy meeting last week, which tackled the rise of electricity rates in Negros and Panay, Lacson said he “believes that renewable energy will help bring down the cost of power in Negros in the long term.”

“It is assuring to hear from the head of our provincial government that Negros Occidental will seek to secure a future powered by clean energy that genuinely benefits its residents, especially at a time when the prices of our electricity and fuel soar and as the climate emergency we face keeps getting worse, just like what global leaders are discussing now at the climate summit in the United Kingdom,” Alminaza said.

The bishop serves as a convenor of REpower Negros, a broad CSO, youth, church, and consumer-led movement advancing renewable energy in the island.

Lacson served as mayor of San Carlos City that today is recognized as an RE hub not just in the Philippines but also in Southeast Asia, the bishop said.

“We hope this direction can be consistently followed both in terms of the kind of energy Negros produces and the kind of energy contracted by our electric cooperatives, because right now our homes are still powered mostly by costly and dirty fossil fuel plants from outside the island,” Alminaza said.

Hopefully Lacson’s commitment will also translate to protecting Negros and its people from the threat of fossil fuel development, he said.

San Carlos is the site of a proposed coal plant now turned into a fossil gas project of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), the bishop said.

“Many say ‘natural’ or fossil gas is a clean energy source, but it is very clear that, like coal and all other fossil fuels, it brings harm to our already degrading environment and risks exacerbating climate change,” Alminaza said.

“We look to our local government to back Negrosanons up in the fight against gas, and look forward to also being able to engage SMC towards working with the people instead in the journey to sustainably repower Negros,” he added.*

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