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List of Articles by Edwin G. Espejo



PACQUIAO WATCH: Raising the ante and sparking a debate

By Edwin G. Espejo
PhilBoxing.com
25 Sep 2009

I AM sorry people.

This piece is not about boxing.

This is about Manny’s take on a sensitive yet compelling issue in the province where he intends to run as congressman.

Manny was no longer coy about the planned construction of a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.

In his column “Kumbinasyon” in the Cebu-based and moderated www.mannypacquiao.ph the Filipino boxing icon declared he will join the local Catholic Church and other groups opposing the US$450-million power plant project.

Manny, who is seeking public office for the second time after a disastrous foray into politics in 2007, cited concerns over the environmental and health of the people in Maasim of the Alcantara-led project as reasons why he his throwing his 140 or 147 pounds of weight against it.

Manny claimed coal-fired power plants in the United States are allegedly being shutdown due to their polluting effects on the environment and cited the closure of Mohave Generating Station, a 1,580 MW coal power plant near Laughlin, Nevada.

(A check from the internet disclosed that the plant opted to shut down rather than install costly anti-pollution devices. http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/analyses/nevada/nevada.html)

No sooner than before Manny could send ‘memos’ to his political and media advisers, a thread was started in the forum section of the aforementioned eminent Filipino boxing website.

Here are some of the threads posted in the website:

From the practical -

“U.S. is still highly dependent on coal power plants.
is it usual to see loads and loads of coal being
loaded on mile long trains. as much as the U.S. wants
to get rid of coal they can't because this is where
they get 50% of their energy”
- boxer1 (author’s handle),

To the theoretical -

“going nuclear is the answer.
but Manny won't agree to that either,
because his advisers say so”
kajo

And from overseas -

“manny is an environmentalist... green advocates.
i really don't understand why manny is against coal and he might be against nuclear also.

ayaw rin ng gasolina or krudo... so lahat bawal.
ano ang alternatibo sa gasolina, sa coal, sa nuclear para tumakbo ang sasakyan at pailawin ang bansa.
kailangan natin bumalik sa dati.... imbes na kotse, kalesa, imbes na tractora, kalabaw, imbes na coal, uling na panggatong na lang,”
kalagukoy, los angeles, ca 90058

The skeptical -

“for sure the design of that power plant is still patterned during the time of magellan. we cant blame our engineers bec the client of this project said so to save money to be given to the crook politician around. starting from the mere barangay kagayad to the highest government officials in the palace are waiting for their share everyday. and what happen? the desgns of almost all components are substadards including the purchase of major equipment to get rid of those thick smoke as you can see in the picture. a modern scrubber/filters systems are required to eliminate the smoke coming from the furnaces, old power generations, boilers etc....etc...but on the final design these are not included to save money for bribery”Adok

The cynical -

Only when filipinos learn to take care and be responsible of the country's natural resources, only when those who are in power and authority learn to love their country and not be controlled by their own greediness and hubris can we say that coal power plants, mining industry, nuclear power plants are beneficial to the country in general.
In my experience, it is so easy to write contingency plans, safety measures, precautions and protection to our natural resources, but in actuality, companies who operate using our natural resources do not really follow what was the agreed upon measures that the stakeholders insist to have as protection. Multi-sectoral groups (such as NGOs/POs/Church groups/community stakeholders) that are formed primarily to monitor the safety measures are enticed with P20T-P50T per individual so they won't continue to monitor entirely the whole agreed measures and protection.)
Legally, everything seems to be okay, but underneath many things are done to undermine what was supposedly basic, just and fair. This is how the country's democratic institutions will eventually be destroyed,”
name

The experienced –

Dude don't believe on those environmental expert KUNO saying that they are expert on coal plants toxic pollutions, I my self works as a commissioning and Flue gas engineer for almost 8 coal power plants around the world, they don't know how strict coal plants anti pollution control, Coal plant specially those modern and new ones have very strict flue gas monitoring and scrubbing machines, I don't have to mention it here for it's technicalities, I guarantee you guys there are many fail safe measure that even in an accident that occurs, it will not that catastrophic for the environment, I myself is very strict in flue gas emission, there are tolerable sulfur dioxide, sulfur monoxide, and carbon monoxide that are emitted from the stacks and its is periodically checked by government pollution boards, I tell you guys walking in polluted Manila is more deadly the living besides a 3,000 megawatts coal fired power plant...”gobitz

The aghast -

“BINGO!
thanks for sharing ,brader.
this green movement ek ek is all but a fascist stuff.
some people are obviously taking advantage of the NATURAL global warming phenomenon,
and using this to their own selfish motives.
fock, ALL the other planets in our Solar System are undergoing planetary warming.
and believe me Manny, there's not a single,
NOT EVEN ONE COAL POWER PLANT IN PLUTO!”
kajo (again)

The contrary viewer -

“i'm not sure which environmentalists are you talking about.
however, there's really a huge concern about air pollution in our country. i am a certified ISO14001 lead auditor, and i have been involved in certification audits regarding the clean air act. i believe those who penned the clean air act didn't really understand anything about pollution technology.
consider this actual scenario - if you raise the smoke stack to a certain height, you'll pass the pollution limit. obviously, pollution is negated at the area near the pollution producer; those who live 5 kilometers away will be the recipient of the fallout.
scrubbers do minimize the degree of pollutants, however, their maintenance requirement to ensure 100% effectiveness 24/7 is almost impossible. since there is no lawmaker who understand the function of any pollutant mitigator, there is no specific law that requires an effective one.
i also found out that the government has no equipment that can really test air pollution on site. i would assume the limits of pollutants tabulated in the law are mostly copied from somewhere.
i think what pacman is saying is true, however there are a lot of diesel power plants in the country which are violating the clean air act. maybe, a serious look into the current capabilities of the country should be done by government.
pacman or any pinoy should not worry if we do have the proper laws in place and proper implementation of these laws are being done, the problem is we don't really have anything in place. that's why FEAR and automatic rejection of potential dangerous power technologies is rampant,”
- delpilar

The advising conformist -

“The good thing here is, Manny demonstrate his environmental leanings and pause some environmental issues and concerns and joined the world wide outcry against ozone layer depletion and global warming situation.
Manny's advisor failed to input in him the degree of development that delivered in an excellent passion to substantially addressed the safety and worthwhile usage of our natural resources,”
xcylly

From nuthuggers of Pacman advisers –

“Manny Pacquiaos EDITOR made good points in raising some issues but they dont even bother to RECOMMEND OTHER ALTERNATIVES OTHER THAN SOLAR ENERGY to PRODUCE ENERGY THAT IS SUITABLE AND AVAILABLE IN MAASIM AND SURROUNDING AREA,”Coliform


Judging from the thread posts, it seems Manny has opened the Pandora’s box that he might find himself hard pressed, burn the candles and laboriously study the implications of his statement given that he is running up against an established political clan that authored the creation of the province he is now invading politically.

His advisers may have seen the coal-fired power plant project as an issue to endear himself to the Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, head of the Diocese of Marbel who is likewise oppose to the construction of the power station.

The bishop earlier urged Catholic devout not to vote candidates who are gamblers and who have gambling lords as their associates and acquaintances.

Of course, everybody knew Manny is into cockfighting, casinos and billiards money-game.

Incidentally, his opponent for the Sarangani seat for the House of Representative is allied with Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez, a scion of the Alcantara family that is mainly bankrolling the project.

As one boxing commentator once said, be careful what you wish for.

Manny is undoubtedly the most gifted boxer in his generation, barring no one (even including Floyd Mayweather Jr.).

Boxing is where Manny knows the nuances and intricacies of the sports.

But politics and the issue he now is raising is entirely a different world for him.

But then, he just raised the ante and, in so doing, sparked a debate.

Let’s see how will fare in the long run.


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