By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Environment groups welcomed the executive order recently issued by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. declaring the province “coal-free.”
Notably, the Philippine division of the Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, commended the governor.
“It is our hope that the province serves as a model for others to break free from coal and commit to the fight to solve the climate crisis,” the organization said in a social media post. “We expect all sectors of the province to work together to turn this vision of a coal-free Negros Occidental into a reality.”
The organization also commended local environmental group Youth for Climate Hope, along with the faith community, led by Diocese of San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza.
Earlier this week, the governor issued Executive Order No. 19-08 series of 2019, which declared Negros Occidental “a source of clean and renewable energy and a coal-free province.”
Through the order, the Provincial Renewable Energy Council was established, which will be tasked with crafting measures to encourage “renewable energy programs for a greener and energy efficient province.”
In addition, a recent National Anti-Poverty Commission report called on provinces to formulate local climate change action plans, particularly for the 40 poorest provinces in the country, which are considered the most vulnerable to climate change.
Both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental were listed among the 40 provinces believed to be the poorest and most vulnerable.
A few years ago, the Commission on Audit found both Negros provinces among the country’s richest./DGB, WDJ