Various groups disgusted by DENR awarding of Verde Island Passage "stewardship" to top three dirty energy producers

This article is available in Pilipino

Condemnation met the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to award the “stewardship” or care of the Verde Island Passage (VIP) to three dirty energy producers in the country. In cooperation with the Department of Energy, the department awarded it to the companies Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) of the Aboitiz family, Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) operated by Manny Pangilinan, and San Miguel Corp (SMC) of Ramon Ang, companies notorious for environmental plunder and destruction.

The DENR further boasted that the agreement reached is the “first public-private partnership” in “environmental protection and marine ecosystem conservation.”

“We are sure that this partnership, which is a clear case of ‘corporate greenwashing’, will bring zero benefit to the marine ecosystem,” according to Fernanco Hicap, national leader of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya). “The DENR and DOE are despicable in its direct involvement with such corporations under the guise of protecting VIP. They will only profit from our abundant resources.”

Protect VIP, a network of civic organizations and Batangas communities, also condemned the agreement. The DENR and DOE did not even consult with the affected communities before awarding the stewardship, according to Gerry Arances, the group’s convenor. Protect VIP has long opposed the three companies in Batangas for operating energy plants that use fossil fuel (diesel and LNG). These plants cause adverse effects on the VIP ecosystem and the livelihood of the fisherfolk who depend on it.

“The construction of more fossil gas power plants in the VIP further endangers the marine corridor and the neighboring communities with pollution, changes in biodiversity and livelihoods, and worsens the effects of climate change,” Arances said.

The group’s report says five out of six diesel plants, four out of seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and nine out of 39 gas-powered power plants are in Batangas. One of the largest of these is the $3.3-billion LNG plant jointly owned by SMC, AEV and MPI located directly across from VIP.

Arances said if these three companies are really serious about defending VIP, they should first scrap their plans to build and expand gigantic plants that harm the environment.

Meanwhile, Oceana Philippines insisted that the VIP should be declared a protected area and that environmental protection laws the should be strictly enforced there.

AB: Various groups disgusted by DENR awarding of Verde Island Passage "stewardship" to top three dirty energy producers