I.N. as coal-free province pushed

Concerned on possible health hazards from coal waste and negative effect on the environment, Governor Imee R. Marcos is firm to strengthen provincial efforts banning the production and use of coal in Ilocos Norte.

Provincial Resolution No. 017-2016 had already declared Ilocos Norte as “clean, green, and coal-free” in August 2016, highlighting the province as “the undisputed wind energy capital of the Philippines.”

At present, the province has the 150-Megawatt Burgos Wind Power Project of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the 81 MW Caparispisan Wind Power Station of Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corp., and the 52 MW Bangui Wind Power Project of Northwind Power and Development Corp.

More recent developments are the 5 MW Agua Grande hydroelectric power plant in Pagudpud, and two solar farms: the 20 MW facility of Soleq Philippines Inc., and the 4.1 MW and 2.6 farms of the EDC.

With the launch of Governor Marcos’ vision for a “livable, sustainable, and resilient” province, promotion of renewable energy and proper care of the environment were among the priorities of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN).

This includes shying away from energy development using coal of any type due to proven harmful effects to the environment, impact to climate change, and public health menace.

She mentioned in her 2016 State of the Province Address (SOPA), “As a province of farmers, ecological sustainability comes indeed naturally, but we have begun to take for granted even our environment.”

Underscoring the need to reinforce ordinances and resolutions in support of provincial programs, Governor Marcos plans to create a task force to review Ilocos Norte’s environment code and incorporate stricter measures against coal energy.

In addition, she had assured in her SOPA that “we shall retrofit old provincial and government buildings so they will be sustainable and efficient. We are aggregating power usage of public buildings to rationalize and save electricity, exploiting finally our provincial renewable sources,” elaborating sustainability as the second pillar of provincial development.

Tasks forces under PGIN have continuously contributed to inclusive growth in Ilocos Norte, most notably the Task Force Trabaho in 2012 which was able to generate 50,915 jobs in three years.

Governor Marcos’ initiative for a coal-free province is also in support to the national government in its commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to reduce carbon emissions from expected levels in 2030.—(Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO)