HCWH Asia Supports DENR Call to Review Permissions and Operations of Coal Plants

Health Care Without Harm Asia supports the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in its recent statement to review all the permits and operations of the Philippines’ coal-fired power plants.

Investing in renewable energy

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez said that under her leadership, she will see to it that the country’s energy sources will not be limited primarily to fossil fuels. "I am not keen on limiting the country's energy mix on coal alone," Secretary Lopez said, citing the United States and countries in Europe already using renewable energy sources as base load power.

DENR Undersecretary Nicholas Perlas also said that the department is working with coal companies to support them in investing in renewable energy, emphasizing that renewable energy is becoming more widely used globally with many companies and countries now making a transition from fossil fuels. “We just have to stay abreast with science and technology that’s developing like crazy. You cannot be isolated from global development and rely on old technologies”, Perlas said.

Renewable energy is healthy energy

“Health Care Withourt Harm Asia welcomes the move of the Philippine government to review the operations of coal-fired power plants which has been proven to have deleterious effects to both environment and people’s health,” expressed HCWH Asia Director Ramon San Pascual. “This said, we similarly support the call for energy providers to consider transitioning to renewable energy in the soonest time.”

In the Philippines, HCWH Asia’s Healthy Energy Initiative has been campaigning to highlight the links between climate, health, and energy, particularly how energy choices and policies impact public health. “Coal plants are not only a major climate change contributor and environmental disruptors” explained Healthy Energy Initiative Campaigner Paeng Lopez.

“At the center of the issue is the welfare of affected communities whose quality of life, livelihood, and health are placed at risk by coal facilities that they almost always do not want to host in the first place. It would do us well to remember that the people's right to develop should never come at the expense of their environment or their health. The Filipino people, especially, should never have to choose between suffering in the dark or suffering in the light. Progress and clean energy should not be exclusive, rather, they should be pursued hand in hand,” Lopez pointed out.

The Healthy Energy Initiative recently published a fact sheet and infographics that outline how the generation, distribution, and consumption of energy can have both positive and negative impacts on the health of communities, workers, and the global climate. 

Last week, more than 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities from Asia called on governments and the health sector  in the region to tackle climate change by transitioning to healthier energy at the Green Hospitals Asia Conference hosted by HCWH'S Global Green and Healthy Hospitals in Yogyakarta in Indonesia.