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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE bid of Antique Governor Salvacion Z. Perez to seek for the cancellation of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to the proposed coal-fired power plant in Iloilo City is too late in the day.

In an interview over the weekly cable TV talk show Serbisyo Publiko Sunday hosted by City Councilor Perla Zulueta, Engr. Adrian Moncada, assistant vice president of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), said Perez should have asked for the cancellation of the ECC within 15 days after it was issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Perez and four other Western Visayas governors – Isidro Zayco of Negros Occidental, Carlito Marquez of Aklan, Victor Tanco of Capiz and Felipe Hilan Nava of Guimaras – earlier wrote President Gloria Arroyo urging her to revoke the ECC issued to GBPC’s proposed coal-fired power plant at Brgy. Ingore, LaPaz, Iloilo City.

Moncada said the ECC was issued September 1 but the letter of the five governors only came out last week.

“If we refer to the DENR procedures, any protest to the issuance of the ECC must be done within 15 days after it was issued. I don’t think that the DENR will recall it at this time,” Moncada said.

Moncada said there could be political color to the anti-coal letter of the governors “but it is up to the President to act on this.”

But DENR Secretary Lito Atienza said they will not revoke the ECC to the coal-fired power plant project.

Atienza said President Arroyo forwarded the governors’ letter to his office for his action.

The DENR chief said the issues on the project’s effects on public health and environment have already been addressed in previous consultations and studies by their experts.

Atienza said the GBPC project will use clean coal technology and will solve the acute power problem of Iloilo and the rest of Panay.

Engr. Randy Pastolero of Panay Electric Co., the sole power distributor in Iloilo City, said the proposed coal-fired power plant will help lower electricity rates in the metropolis which is now pegged at P14 per kilowatt-hour.

“With the ECC of the coal plant already approved, there is now a pending reduction of the generation cost which is the prime factor in our power rates in Iloilo City,” Pastolero said.

Recently, Governors Zayco, Tanco and Marquez told Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas hat they did not intend to interfere in the city’s affair.

The three governors also said that they have no objection to the project as long as public health and the environment are protected.

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