Senate aspirant Leody de Guzman wants to shut down coal mines

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Leody de Guzman of Partido Lakas ng Masa

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 10) — A senatorial bet belonging to the labor sector is pushing to shut down coal mines.

"Dapat siguro ipasara 'yung mga coal mine. Kasi 'yung coal mine, 'yan ang pinakamaruming enerhiyang ginagamit sa bansa. 'Yung mga planong buksan pa, dapat huwag nang buksan," says Leody de Guzman of the Partido Lakas ng Masa.

[Translation: We must shut down coal mines. Coal mines are the dirtiest source of energy in the Philippines. Those set to be open should no longer be opened.]

Coal makes up almost half of the country's power generation mix. However, coal use has been linked largely to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which in turn speeds up global warming -- one of the major factors in worsening natural calamities as typhoons and species extinction.

"'Yung mga bagay na nakakadulot ng paglikha ng pag-init ng mundo ay dapat nang pigilan," he added.

[Translation: Those things which cause global warming should be stopped.]

The Department of Energy said it is adopting a "technology-neutral" approach to meet the Philippines' energy goals -- which means it will source its energy from the conventional resources such as coal and natural gas, as well as so-called non-conventional resources such as renewable energy.

De Guzman's call comes as a 2018 report from a Swedish non-profit organization showed that two cities in the Philippines got the cleanest air.

The 2018 Air Quality Report from Switzerland-based IQ AirVisual ranked Calamba, Laguna and Valenzuela City, Philippines as the top cities in Southeast Asia with the cleanest air.

Air cleanliness is measured in the amount of fine particulate matter or PM2.5 (µg/m³).

Larry Gadon, who is also vying for a Senate seat, said a law based off the local government policies on anti-polution efforts of the two cities must be enacted.

"Itong mga lugar na ito ay industrialized zones," Gadon said. "Ine-expect mo nga magiging marumi ang hangin diyan because of the factories. Pero maganda ang kanilang pamamalakad pagdating sa anti-pollution."

[Translation: These places are industrialized zones. You expect the air there to be dirty due to the factories, but they have good programs against pollution.]