Semirara residents made a stop in Batangas to join up with other groups in a protest caravan as they call for an end to coal mining and coal projects in the Philippines.

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November 26, 2015

“There is no place for a coal-fired power plant in our beloved city,” said Batangas City Councilor Ma. Kristine G. Balmes.

“Turning away from coal projects is not only respecting the rights of Batangenos but fulfilling our moral obligation to the environment,” she stressed.

Two coal-fired power plants are currently in operation in Calaca, Batangas. Another power plant project to be located in Batangas City is being proposed. According to the Department of Energy statistics, the country is 43 percent dependent on coal for power.

“With the livelihoods and the health of our communities at stake, we cannot risk this dangerous project to continue,” Balmes said.

The protest caravan started on Semirara Island in Antique on November 23 and will end, nearly 300 kilometers later, in Malacañang on November 28 to have a dialogue with President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Fr. NAME, POSITION of ORGANIZATION,urged the President to talk with the protesters comprising farmers and fisher folk as well as community leaders who are directly affected by coal-fired power plants and coal mining pollution.

“Whenever we allow coal power plants and coal mining to prosper, we are allowing everyone to suffer and die from environment destruction,” he said.

The protest caravan led by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) had already moved to Bulalacao, Victoria, and Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro on November 24 and 25. It arrived today in Batangas City in Batangas and will continue to Calamba and Biñan in Laguna.Coal plants and coal mines exist in these provinces.

Anti-mining and climate justice groups such as the Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) and Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment (AMEN) have already joined the group.

The protest caravan is part of the weeklong action for climate justice as the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris is expected tocome out with a new legally binding agreement on climate change from November 30 to December 11, but the primary purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the impact of coal in their communities.

PMCJ National Coordinator Gerry Arances said that the caravan is a direct message about the urgent need to stop all coal projects in the country. “Coal mining and coal projects are direct threat to the rich marine biodiversity particularly in Batangas, Mindoro, and Palawan.”

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