Lacson Defends Self From ‘Anti-Coal’ Claims


Outgoing Negros Occidental vice governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who is set to take over as governor on June 30, has defended himself from various issues directed at him involving the proposed coal-fired power plant in his hometown of San Carlos City.

“Even before I take my oath and assume my office as governor, some sectors have already sowed hatred towards me,” Lacson said in a press briefing with Capitol reporters.

He mentioned three supposed reasons for the criticisms — that he will repeal Executive Order 19-08 dated March 6, 2019, declaring Negros Occidental as a source of clean and renewable energy and a coal-free province, issued by outgoing governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.; not refile the request for an ordinance declaring the province coal-free; and that he approved the building of coal-fired power plant in the northern Negros city.

“These acts I have not done,” he said.

On the first issue, Lacson noted that his lawyers have advised him there is no need to repeal EO 19-08 thus, it will remain enforced.

He added that there is also no need to refile Marañon’s requested ordinance since “it is a subject matter which is still on the process with the Provincial Board”.

“I’m sure the incoming members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will continue (with it),” Lacson said.

Moreover, Lacson dismissed the claim that he supposedly approved the construction of the coal-fired power plant in San Carlos, where he once served as mayor.

“First of all, the vice governor’s office has no authority to issue a building permit for such a plant in San Carlos City. We all know that it is the responsibility of the said local government unit and not (this office). Neither it is also the responsibility of the governor’s office,” he added.

Earlier, environment groups Climate Action for Sustainability Initiative (Kasali) and Living Laudato Si Philippines have thrown support to Negrenses leading the opposition to the reported plan of SMC Global Power to develop a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in San Carlos.* (Nanette Guadalquiver via NDB)

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