PRworks Online

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SALCON Power Corporation Campaign


In 2004, the SALCON Power Corporation in Naga, Cebu became the target of an NGO environmental campaign for its partnership with the Korean Power Corporation (KEPCO) for the construction of two 100 megawatts coal-fired power plants.

The NGO called CARE or Cebu Alliance for Renewable Energy conducted mobilizations in Naga town and in Cebu City to attract the attention of media. It had initiated organizing efforts in the communities around the SALCON Power Complex. It presented various data about global warming, conducted area tests with other NGOs like Greenpeace. In fact, CARE was backed by the Leftist BAYAN Muna and was bolstered by an earlier NGO campaign that prevented the construction of a similar coal-fired plant in Iloilo Island.

Because of the municipal government’s support of the construction of the two plants, the mayor and other LGU officials also became targets of an effective tri-media barrage.

The SALCON management anticipated that the tri-media campaign will get local support and might create problems in terms of social acceptability during the series of Environmental Compliance Certification hearings scheduled in early 2005.

Intervention

Through the intervention of the local government, SALCON contracted the services of PRworks Inc., which immediately conducted an appraisal of the situation and proposed a comprehensive program that basically included:

  • A series of surveys on public perception re the construction of the two coal-fired plants;
  • A media relations and news management program that succeeded in tilting the balance of media coverage towards SALCON’s favor;
  • A lobby campaign that resulted in the support for the project by the Cebu Mayors’ League and the Provincial Board.
  • A three-month community relations campaign in the communities around the SALCON complex that resulted in the mobilization of thousands of residents who expressed support for the construction of the plants during the municipal ECC hearing and another hearing by the Cebu Provincial Board. The mobilizations countered the mass actions organized by CARE and showed overwhelming public support for the two plants.

Groundbreaking

No protests marred the SALCON and KEPCO groundbreaking ceremonies in December 2005 that was graced by the Salcon and Kepco Presidents and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Postscript (September 2010)

The campaign also got PRworks involved in the long-term development of Naga especially when the town became a city and Mayor Valdemar Chiong put forward his development program called Vision and Leadership (VAL) 2020. Noteworthy is the emphasis of VAL 2020 on sustainable development that Mayor Chiong had been carrying out since 2006. While publicity during the 2004-2005 campaign and in another campaign last year focused on the merits of the modern coal technology of KEPCO, PRworks and the Naga city leadership believes that the use of coal technology as necessary for today’s baseload needs in Cebu, this is only transitional. The long-term sustainable approach would be to push for multiplicity of power sources with increasing use of renewable energy in the years to come along with other green technologies. Note that Mayor Chiong has initiated the process towards the establishment of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to take care of solid wastes this year (2010). He has also expressed his plan to soon use solar power for the new Naga City Hall. PRworks intends to quietly work to help Naga City make this happen.

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