Communities hosting power plants of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) on Friday wrote to stockholders of the company about the effects the conglomerate’s projects have on them, ahead of the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting (ASM) scheduled on Tuesday.
The letter, signed by fisherfolks, community representatives, cause-oriented groups, and other advocates, was sent to stockholders urging them to rein in SMC’s continued expansion of fossil fuel projects, particularly gas, for the country’s energy grid, even as the Philippines committed to the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and even as these projects pose grave harms to communities and the environment.
“Any stockholder of SMC should be mindful of how his or her investment is being used by the company. SMC’s financial statements do not reflect the actual cost of its fossil fuel projects – poor health for the residents of host communities, loss of livelihood from pollution, and environmental degradation which makes the whole country more vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said Bishop Gerry Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos, who is also a Convenor of WagGas, a coalition of communities, sectors, and civil society organizations opposed to the expansion of gas in the country.
The letter also warned stockholders of the financial risks they are assuming with the continued investment in gas by SMC.
“With the loss of supply from Malampaya, SMC is adding more risk to its investments by relying on imported LNG at a time when global supply is short and the prices are volatile. Already, SMC’s energy subsidiary has been projected by Bloomberg to have a funding shortfall as high as $1 billion by next June. Importing LNG also means adding to the risk of more oil spills like what happened in Mindoro, when an SMC subsidiary chartered a ship that ultimately sank and is now leaking industrial oil, causing untold misery to fisherfolk and other people who depend on the sea for their livelihood,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development.
Signatories urged stockholders to be more proactive and question the policy direction of SMC concerning fossil fuels.
“As stockholders, SMC has an obligation to listen to them, and they should be informed of the reasons why this company is taking a very risky and destructive path of squeezing profits. We hope stockholders will understand, their profit is a loss for us, and nudge the company to a path which will be more beneficial to its stockholders, communities, and to all Filipinos,” said Alminaza.