Renewable energy projects must serve the Bikolano people, not foreign interests
Big-ticket renewable energy projects loom over Bikol now. Two of these are the geothermal exploration under Premier Geoexcel Inc. in Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur; and the already-signed contract for the erection of 1000 MW wind farms by Copenhagen Infrastructure New Markets Fund (CINMF) in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. CINMF’s project in Bikol is the largest among the three projects that comprise the very first contract for renewable energy fully-owned by foreign entities. The other two are set to be constructed in Northern Samar, Pangasinan and La Union.
Even at the early stages of these projects, the Bikolano masses must be vigilant especially since these contracts are held by capitalist countries who are always after superprofits even at the expense of the people. Oftentimes, lurking behind these so-called exploration for alternative energy supply and other such projects are widescale landgrabbing, disturbance among communities, dislocation, environmental exploitation, extraction of minerals among others.
In the process of constructing these projects, roads that will bulldoze through the mountains and communities of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur will sure be put into place. The masses must prepare for subsequent tree-cutting and land excavations in the forests that will surely weaken the land’s defense against natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes. Like other geothermal and related projects, these will cause waste materials such as mud that will poison and destroy bodies of water in the affected areas. They must also prepare for the ensuing concentration of military forces and their abuses in areas targeted by these foreign companies.
The people must also anticipate and prepare for the surge in foreign companies and businesses that will take advantage of the removal of restrictions in the renewable energy sector. They are to to be expected to race against each other in a bid to capture the energy market and control the nation’s energy resources.
In the wake of this situation, it is every Filipino’s obligation to be vigilant and wary of the activities and projects to be undertaken by these foreign companies. They must be prepared to launch mass campaigns that will uphold the interests of local communities, the lives and livelihood of residents as well as the protection of the environment.