MANILA, Sept. 15, 2015— Hundreds took to the streets of Quezon’s capital yesterday for the second Church-led protest this year demanding the withdrawal of the provincial government’s support for coal-fired power plants in the province.
Frustration with the approval of another coal project has grown, and more than a thousand rallied outside the Quezon Capitol in Atimonan town on Monday, after similar protest last June.
Some protesters were seen praying the rosary and reciting ecumenical prayers for the care of the environment while others wore masks to protest against pollution caused by coal-fired power plants.
Chanting “No to Coal, Yes to God,” the demonstrators requested an audience with the Board members who reportedly adjourned their session “to evade the crowd.”
Emotions ran high when the officials “sneaked out” of the session hall through the back door but failed to do so as throngs of people blocked the drive way.
They were then forced to dialogue with the rallyists and received a petition for the provincial board to stop the 1,200 megawatt power plant expansion project in Atimonan and the two existing coal plants in Mauban and Pagbilao.
From the capitol, the rallyists marched to the Sacred Heart College where a Mass was held in thanksgiving for Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.
Fr. Raul Enriquez, one of the convenors of the Quezon Laban sa Coal, said it is everyone’s duty as responsible stewards to defend God’s creation.
“To stay neutral – not to take a stand – in the face of destruction of our natural resources – is not a Christian option,” he said.
“That is why our participants were asked to wear white shirts with black ribbons: it means you are either for or against [coal plants], there’s no middle ground,” Enriquez added. (R. Lagarde / CBCPNews)