Church Leaders urge SMC to abandon fossil fuel development


Leaders of the Catholic Church urged the stockholders of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to steer away from coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. 

“Today, more corporate actors are acknowledging their role in the climate crisis, and are choosing to work towards aligning to the 1.5°C Paris temperature goal. SMC, meanwhile, is still unwavering in its fossil fuel development,” the statement released by group, #WagGas, said.  

Despite the current coal moratorium imposed by the Department of Energy, Church leaders said that SMC still persists with its proposal for an additional coal-fired power plant in Mariveles, Bataan.

Furthermore, they said SMC is the leading contributor to new fossil gas initiatives in the Philippines, including LNG power plants situated in ecologically important areas like the Verde Island Passage and Tañon Strait.

The group stressed that SMC’s intention to rely on gas as a transition fuel contradicts claims of supporting a clean energy transition, as these projects would result in continued fossil fuel proliferation for decades to come.

“SMC’s promotion of fossil fuels goes against its principle of malasakit for the Filipino people. The long-term damage of coal to people’s health and the environment is well-documented,” the group said. 

Think tank group Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) also called out SMC for its continued proliferation of fossil fuel in the country. 

“SMC is making a name for itself as a fossil fuel-obsessed corporation blind to both climate and environmental imperatives starkly confronted by the Philippines. Its energy directions of promoting coal and now gas are costly not only to our planet and environment but also to the pockets of Filipino consumers. By building our dependence on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), SMC is cementing our exposure to volatile global gas prices for decades to come,” CEED executive director Gerry Arances said. 

The CEED official said that projections from LNG power generation could be three times more expensive than generating from renewable energy. 

“SMC says it also intends to assist in ramping up renewables, but it can only prove itself to be truly at the service of Filipinos if it abandons its aggressive LNG ambitions. Otherwise, any contribution by SMC to advance renewables is eclipsed by a legacy of dirty, costly energy,” Arances said.