Catholic prelate calls for probe into typhoon-damaged coal storage facility operation in Cebu

January 10, 2022

A Catholic bishop called on authorities to investigate the alleged resumption of operations of a coal-fired power plant in Cebu province, despite the damage in its storage facility brought about by the recent typhoon. 

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos urged the local government of Toledo City to “exercise its mandate to secure the safety of its residents” and conduct an immediate probe.

“This calls for public outcry and collective action… Another example of putting profit first before the planet and people,” the prelate said.  

On January 9, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice reported that the coal-fired power plant run by Therma Visayas Inc (TVI) “is now in full operation, despite the damage done to its dome stockpile after Typhoon Odette” (international name: Rai). 

“As a result, it is not properly functioning and is discharging fumes and ash in the city, causing dizziness and foul odor to Toledo’s residents,” the group said in a statement. 

Grace Honodinez Cononigo, a 54-year-old resident of Bato village, told that a portion of the roof of the plant’s storage facility is “missing due to the typhoon.”

“Also, its conveyor has no cover because the typhoon destroyed it. Now, it releases more fumes and dust to the air that directly affects us here,” she said. 

TVI, a subsidiary of AboitizPower, operates a 340 MW coal power plant in Bato village in Toledo City. It is one of the two coal plants in the country that houses a ‘Coal Dome Facility.’

According to its website, the coal storage facility “secures fuel deposits while mitigating the spread of coal dust into the air.” 

Cononigo said TVI placed temporary coverings to the damaged facility after the residents complained about the “foul odor and the suffocating dust.”

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