While it is true that a "disaster" can change hearts and minds, I welcome the the decision of the country's staunchest "enemy" of coal, Davao City Mayor Duterte, to scale back his opposition to a coal-fired power plant under construction in his city.
DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte appeared to have changed his heart -- from being a critic to a supporter of the coal-fired power plant being constructed at the boundary of Binugao in Toril, Davao City and Inawayan in Sta. Cruz, Davao del del Sur.
The mayor is now looking at the positive side of the Aboitiz-owned power project, saying this may be the answer to the long hours of rotational brownouts being experienced by the city.
The first unit of the P25-billion 300-megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant will be completed by March 2015, according to the AboitizPower Corp.
"I will tell the public that we need it. Pero ang atong sabot pag naa na na, dapat wala na gyud brownout, free na gyud ang Davao (They should guarantee us that Davao City will be spared from power outages once it will be completed)," Duterte said during a dialogue with the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) on Friday at the Grand Men Seng Hotel.
Even as the plant does not become operational until another year, the people in the area would have experienced less outages much sooner if not for delays caused by opposition. Similar scenarios happen in Region 12, with the delays also in the power plant project of the Alcantara Power Group in Maasim, Sarangani. That too becomes operational in 2015.
Coal-fired power plants have improved greatly because technology advances have made operations much cleaner. I say again that I believe that when we let businesses run with the optimal amount of power they need for their operations, there is much more profit that can be set aside to fund alternative energy sources.
Environment activists on the left side of the issue seem to have a lot of funds, maybe they should put some of their money into developing alternative energy and away from funding opposition to traditional yet cleaner energy and from asking governments to fund these new sources; governments simply do not have the funds for these. As to why not, that is for another post. Perhaps.