An iconic landscape
The islands have received international recognition from the tourism industry as one of the best islands on Earth.
Up to 20% of the Philippines’ floral species are found only on this island. The famous Tubbataha Reefs at the center of the Sulu Sea host over 600 reef fish and 380 hard coral species.
Palawan is sparsely populated with most of its people deriving their livelihood from its natural resources via tourism, agriculture and fisheries.
Recently, the proposal received the approval from the village council, but is yet to be cleared by the municipality and province. If approved, the project will irreparably damage this pristine ecosystem, affecting all iconic and endangered species of the region as well as its terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
What you can do
The first site is directly in front of the Rasa Wildlife Sanctuary in the municipality of Narra.
This sanctuary supports the largest nesting and breeding population of the critically endangered Philippine Cockatoo along with the threatened grey imperial pigeon, several marine turtle species, and the dugong. The tall structures and wires will increase risks of collision and electrocution, resulting in a serious decline in the breeding population. This site also lies just 100 metres away from the fishermen’s fish drying spot on the beach, and coal ash from the plant would affect the quality of their produce.
The second site in Aborlan, directly across the Malunao fish sanctuary, is a mangrove area where locals live and rely primarily on fishing for livelihood.
The polluted thermal waste water would directly be discharged into seas and other water bodies, heavily impacting marine and freshwater ecosystems. Also, transporting the coal to Palawan would expose a much larger marine area to risks such as ship groundings and spills.
Palawan currently has two proposed power projects; coal and hydro power, with the island currently being powered primarily by diesel. The hydropower project is expected to generate three times more jobs per MW than the other projects. It will also save an estimated 750 million pesos in fossil fuel costs and mitigate 26,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
The island also has potential for wind, solar and biomass projects in the region. Despite such high potential for clean energy, if the coal power plant proposal is approved, it would block out future energy projects in the province, making it reliant almost exclusively on fossil fuel.
There is good news. Palawan has an opportunity to make the right energy choice today to secure a sustainable future dependant on clean energy, and set an example for the entire country of Philippines, which has more than 4000 MW of coal projects awaiting approval despite being a country that is poor in fossil fuel resources but rich in clean, indigenous renewable energy resources.
There is a possibility that Palawan becomes 100% powered by renewable energy in the near future, eliminating requirements for fossil fuel projects and all the economic, social and environmental risks associated with it.