For ten long years, the Philippines massively expanded its use of coal. With it came many problems - much higher power rates, pollution in host communities, weaker energy security. A decade of fighting brought victories for the clean energy movement and coal-impacted, and made the dream of a sustainably powered future seem much more possible. Today, however, another mammoth industry gets in the way of renewables: fossil gas.
At a time of an intensifying climate crisis, all time high fossil fuel prices as exacerbated by global supply disruptions from the Russia-Ukraine war, and the deteriorating quality of life and health of the environment in the Philippines, it makes no sense to detour to fossil gas. It is polluting, costly, and unaligned to the 1.5 ambitions of a climate-vulnerable nation. It is in this context that communities, faith-based groups, civil society and people's organizations, environmentalists, and movements make a stand with our new joint call: #WagGas!
Fossil gas-affected communities, civil society unite
for a sustainably powered future with the call: #WagGas!
History was made on August 24 to 25, 2022 as fossil gas-affected communities across the Philippines and supporting groups came together in Batangas province, taking on a battle stance against the giant industry that seeks to add nearly 30 GW new gas power capacity in the national power fleet.
Delegates of the gathering, themed "Keep Fossil Gas Off Our Coasts and Oceans: Uniting for a Sustainably Powered Future", called on the government to cease the massive gas expansion in the country and instead focus efforts on the deployment of 100% renewable energy. In doing so, Filipinos will reap the benefits of genuinely sustainable and reliable power while protecting our megadiverse waters from pollution and disturbance from gas activities.
The gathering was held over two days and had delegates representing communities from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in light of the massive ramp-up of gas projects in the Philippines. The Philippine pipeline boasts the second highest share among countries expanding gas in Southeast Asia, which totals 138 gigawatts (GW). 118 LNG terminals are also already being built or proposed in the region.
This gathering of fossil-gas impacted communities from all over the country is a call to the government to rethink its push for prioritizing policies that ramp up gas projects. LNG, whose price is now reaching record highs in Asia, is not the solution to our power woes brought about in part by Malampaya Gas Field restrictions and expensive imported alternative fuels.
Most Reverend Gilbert Garceres, Archbishop of Lipa, attended the conference and called for the protection of our common home and God’s creation. Dir. Natividad Bernardino, OIC-Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) reiterated the global significance of the Verde Island Passage (VIP), considered the center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity in the world, where five of six existing LNG plants, eight planned LNG power plants, and seven LNG terminals are located.
Delegates of the gathering marked this significant event with a unified call against fossil fuel expansion with the document, dubbed the Batangas Declaration, urging the government to halt fossil gas projects proposed in Batangas and other parts of the country.
For the community representatives, civil society and conservation groups, faith-based organizations, youth, and consumers present, what should be the focus of the Philippine government for energy development is very clear: renewable energy, which is more environment-friendly and more affordable to consumers. The delegates hence unite with the call: #WagGas!
"If the government will listen to our declaration and immediately start working on a 100% renewable energy-powered country, the Philippines can be a model for Southeast Asia, where gas as a transition fuel is being abused to prevent the rise of renewable energy. Let’s protect our communities, consumers, environment, and climate by going for truly clean energy."
The Gathering is co-convened by lead convenor Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED),Oceana International - Philippines, Caritas Philippines, Protect VIP, Sanlakas, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).
National Gathering of Fossil Gas-Affected Communities
and Supporting Groups
Understand why we need to protect the Verde Island Passage. Watch the video.