IT is all praises from an environmental group as the Senate has proposed a higher tax on coal, saying it is a “long overdue gift to the Filipino people” and an indication of the end of the age of coal in the country.
Khevin Yu, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, over the weekend said “the sound of the passing bell
has been heard” for the coal industry.
“The Senate has sent a strong signal that the end of the age of coal is forthcoming for Filipinos,” Yu added.
The proposal, which was scheduled to go through a bicameral session on Friday in the Senate, seeks to increase the tax imposed on coal from P10 to P300 per metric ton by 2020.
Pushed by Senators Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva and Ralph Recto, it also seeks to update the P10 tax rate imposed since 1977 or 40 years ago.
Voted on by the Senate on November 27, the proposal was coursed through Senate Bill 1592, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Ttrain), which laid out tax reforms in various sectors and industries, including coal.
“Greenpeace supports this bold move by the Senate to stand by Filipinos, who are long suffering from the impacts of coal, [and]decided that it’s time to stop coddling an industry that has caused so much destruction on our health and our country’s natural resources,” Yu said.
He added that the coal industry cannot continue amassing wealth at the expense of “destroying our environment, our climate and our people.”
Coal industry players, according to Yu, have been benefiting from an outdated taxation policy that has bias for the promotion of coal to the disadvantage of other sources of energy.
“Such policies contribute to the illusion that coal is the cheapest source of energy. But uncovering the true cost of coal is important because it is the more expensive, destructive and deadly option for energy generation,” he said.
“It is high time we instead increase support toward a diversified renewable energy system based on technologies and resources that are clearly cheaper than coal and highly abundant in our country,” Yu added.
He said Greenpeace and its allies remain vigilant and joins coal-resisting communities in lending support to the Senate’s initiative.
Senators, according to Yu, especially those who earlier on supported the renewable energy revolution, must prove their leadership, honesty and loyalty to their words.
“We have suffered enough, and big polluters, like the coal industry, must pay. This is long overdue,” he said.