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Pacquiao, bishop join hands vs coal power plants — report

Aside from sharing a pro-life stance, Filipino boxing icon Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and a Catholic bishop are also one against coal-fired power plants. Pacquiao and Jaro (Iloilo) Archbishop Angel Lagdameo joined celebrities in supporting Mindanao tribes’ folk opposing such power plants in their ancestral land. "Archbishop Lagdameo, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – with boxing champ and lawmaker Manny Pacquiao, leftist politician Satur Ocampo, rock star Chito Miranda and actress-congresswoman Lani Mercado – signed a resolution supporting a proposal in Congress calling for a 40-year moratorium on the use of coal in power plants," the Union of Catholic Asian News reported in its website. The government is pushing for two new coal-fired plants in Iloilo City and Cebu province to begin operation early next year. It is also pushing for four more power plants foreign and local energy companies are planning to build. President Benigno Aquino III recently announced a P2.6-billion investment by Japanese firm Marubeni for the expansion of three coal-fired power plants in the provinces of Pangasinan, Quezon, and Batangas. Tribal leaders and some environmental groups have been vocal against the use coal to fuel power plants. “Coal-fired power plants and the country’s increasing dependence on coal for electricity generation puts the health and environment of the nation at great risk," said Meggie Nolasco of the environmental group Kalikasan (Nature). “Imposing a coal moratorium in the country is a great contribution in the fight against global warming, and [a step forward] in reducing our dependency on imported fossil fuels and dirty power technologies," Nolasco said. Meanwhile, tribal groups had picketed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) headquarters in Quezon City, demanding the revocation of mining permits in ancestral lands. They want the Aquino administration to grant them full rights over their domain, instead of just asking them for their consent before permits are awarded to mining companies. “Our communities are being ravaged, militarized, and our people have been killed in favor of mining interests," said Piya Malayao, spokesperson of the Society of Indigenous People of the Philippines. “A mining law that recognizes indigenous peoples’ rights and geared towards national industrialization should be passed," said Beverly Longid, president of Katribu party. — LBG, GMANews.TV