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On Friday the 25th November there was a ceremony which was said to be the Ground Breaking for the planned New Coal Fired Power Station here in Sarangani Bay.
It was a bit of a strange event as nobody really new about it until nearly on the day. Many people were invited, myself not being on the guest list, and they all gathered at Lemlunay Resort in order to eat before the ceremony at 2pm when the sun was high and it was a hot day.
There was a small flotilla of boats off the shore, some with Red Signs which were said to be in support of the project while others sported Green signs who were against the project!
The dignitaries who attended the meeting were the Sarangani Governor, the Philippine Trade Secretary and a member of the Alcantara Family.
Also within the area on that day were the Philippine Vice President and congressman Pacquiao, neither attended the event.
Along the road from Lemlunay to the Project area were protesters both for and against the project, the ones against were lead by a Catholic Priest while the ones for were just there not seeming to know even why they were there!
Now the main supposedly backers and financiers for the project, Toyota Tsusho of Japan, The Electric Generating Public Co Ltd from Thailand and the BDO did not have any representatives at this event so to be quite honest, I do not think that they have the finance for the project to go ahead just yet!
The Ceremony consisted of the burying if a time capsule near an office structure not quite on the construction area and the planting of ceremonial trees in the same area. Speaches were made buy the guests of honor and then there was a release of Fish Fingerling’s which were intended to help the restocking of Sarangani Bay. This would have been good but they somehow they missed the bay and released the Fingerling’s into the open sea! Whoops.
A new piece of news was disclosed at this meeting, the Kamanga area is now a Declared Special Economic Zone, I thought that such areas had to be debated in the different Government Departments, not just be declared!
The planned Power Station itself started off at 900 MW’s but is now down to 100MW’s. Why such a big drop in the plan?
There is much talk and promise of a 7,500 Hectare Carbon Sink where lots of trees will be planted in order to absorb all the bad stuff which will come from the plant but so far nothing has happened about this and I think that most people know that trees take time to grow to a useful size!
The original company who started the project was Conal Holdings but now a company called Sarangani Energy Corporation has taken over. Basically both these companies are owned by the Family of the Sarangani Governor so there is a difference in name only!
Congressman Pacquiao is again loosing popularity with his people because as a part of his election campaign he said no to coal but now he seems to be more of a team player with the Governor he has gone very quiet on anything green and the people have noticed his change of policy.
With the Ground Breaking having now taken place only the future will tell if the plant will go ahead or not. We will need more power in the future and I am sure that the powers that be will make sure of that but I still believe that renewable energy is the way to go. I think that even the Sarangani Governor might secretly agree with this as the wind snapped of the mast of his Hoby Cat at Lemlunay the other day!
Next year should be very interesting for this project, it will be only then that we will find out if the project will go ahead or not!