Baseless, premature fear

September 12, 2018

It is the worst kind of fear.

Baseless, premature, and fabricated. 

The funny thing is, the more outrageous and bleaker the false or conjured images or scenarios, the more that they seem to be accepted by the public to be true and forthcoming.

Talk about exaggeration as an integral part of the national conversation.

Consider the many dire forecasts by online pranksters concerning the coming monster storm which has not even reached the Philippine Area of Responsibility as of this writing.

If you put together their collective commentaries uploaded on  Facebook, you would get a virtual preview of the end times.

The same public attitude or outlook can be observed in the case of a socio-economically vital energy project in a region begging for a fast-tracked development.

Critics and opponents of the project have raised bloated, faulty, hazy, wobbly but largely non-existent specter of environmental bloom and even and doom for human, animal, and plant species that are claimed to be sealed by the construction and operation of the facility.

Read on and find out for yourselves the soundness or folly of their fears.

Various groups are spreading fake news regarding the health effect of a ‘factory’ by Atimonan One Energy to residents of Atimonan even construction activities have yet to start.

There is no truth to allegations of these groups that residents of Atimonan are being exposed to coal dusts since A1E has yet to commence construction of the planned project.

Clearly, these groups are spreading rumors and baseless stories all aimed at impeding the construction of the country’s first ultra supercritical coal plant. In fact, once the plant is built, it will help alleviate the socio-economic conditions of people in Atimonan.

A1E cares about the communities and its employees, who are also residents of Atimonan.  Ensuring the health and well-being of the residents’ as well as protecting the town’s environment are A1E’s top priority in pursuing a highly significant coal project.

There is also no truth to allegation that the project is a “negotiation behind the people of Atimonan.” Contrary to Monsignor Noel Villareal of the Our Lady of Angels Parish Church’s statement that  “there was no transparency and sectoral consultation that happened in the approval of the project,” A1E has records and documentation of public consultations conducted when the project was introduced to the residents.

A public consultation was held on May 7, 2015 at the Balagtas Sports Complex attended by residents and different groups, including Monsignor Villareal, and other representatives from the religious sector. This public consultation was one of the requirements prior to the issuance of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the project. The ECC was issued in October 2015.

There are many considerations in developing the A1E project, and the company ensures that all the residents’ concerns are addressed accordingly. Also, to ensure the environment protection, the planned project will be utilizing a high efficiency, low emission (HELE) technology.

There is a participatory process that involves community-based scoping and consultations to educate the public. At the same time, there are stringent processes in securing environmental compliance certificate based on global standards to ensure that projects, like the Atimonan plant, would not pose threat to environment and health of the residents.

In addition, A1E is continuously conducting information education campaigns to address community concerns. We urge our stakeholders and the public to be vigilant about the spread of fake news.

A1E aims to build the country’s first ultra supercritical coal plant, which will be the most advanced power plant in the country. We complied with all the requirements to secure the necessary permits and clearances.

A1E is committed in helping ensure energy security in the country and supporting the President Duterte’s “Build! Build! Build!” infrastructure program. Likewise, the company is one with efforts to develop Atimonan into a progressive and sustainable municipality.

Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy.

Pause and pray, people.