Clean energy advocates hailed the issuance of an executive order declaring Tagkawayan town in Quezon province a Fossil-Free and Renewable Energy municipality.
Tagkawayan Mayor Carlo Eleazar on December 13 signed Executive Order 67 promoting renewable energy projects “in a timeline compatible and aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goals.”
The order also opposes the “entry or establishment of any coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel-fired power plants” in the municipality.
Fr. Warren Puno, director of ecology ministry of the Diocese of Lucena, expressed his optimism that the chief executive’s order “will be successfully executed.”
The priest urged other local government officials to “take a stance against fossil fuels” and to realize that “a future powered by clean energy is a very possible goal.”
Tagkawayan is host for the proposed 1200 MW coal-fired power plant project, one of the biggest coal projects remaining in the Quezon province and in the national coal pipeline despite the moratorium issued by the country’s energy department last year.
The Order paved the way for the creation of the Municipal Renewable Energy Council, a policy-making body that will lead the formulation of an Energy Transition Plan towards 100 percent renewable energy use in the Municipality.
The EO also mandated all departments of the local government of Tagkawayan to “review and update all plans, projects, and permits or licenses in compliance with the Municipality’s declaration as a fossil-free and renewable energy municipality.”
Gerry Arances, convenor of People For Power, said the EO is the best Christmas gift that the local government of Tagkawayan could give to its people.
“It is essentially a commitment to ensure that citizens will have long-term access to clean and affordable energy moving forward and that no fossil fuel project will be allowed to harm their health or the environment they live in,” he said.
With the signing and issuance of the order, Arances said that the proposed coal project will “not be receiving support from local authorities.”
“We hope this EO is taken as a hint by the [energy department] and proponents that it is high time to shelve the project, tighten the implementation of the coal moratorium, and genuinely advance sustainable energy development,” he said.
The province of Quezon is host to several coal-fired power plants in the country. There are four existing and operational coal plants in the province – two in Mauban town and two in Pagbilao town.