San Manuel residents up in arms vs proposed solar power plants
By Yolanda Sotelo
DAGUPAN CITY – Residents and farmers of barangay Sto. Domingo in San Manuel expressed their opposition to proposed solar power plant projects in their town, saying the projects would dislocate them from their livelihood and residences.
A statement from the residents said there are two application for power plants at the Department of Energy in the town – a 60-MW plant of the Pilipinas Newton Energy Corporation and the 56-MW Pilipinas Einstein Energy Corporation.
The residents are being helped in their opposition by the Tignay dagiti Mannalon A Mangwayawaya ti Agno (Tinmmawa) and Anakpawis Partylist-Pangasinan.
They said while solar power plants are environmentally-friendly, it would displace hundreds of farmers, most of them tenants. The agricultural land would be used to place the solar panels.
“Sinasabing maganda ang Solar Power Plant dahil maka-kalikasan ito pero hindi dapat isakripisyo ang kabuhayan ng magsasaka para magbigay-daan sa proyektong ito,”resident Erlinda Galistre- Campos, said.
The residents called of President Duterte to approve the moratorium on land-use conversion being pushed by Agrarian Secretary Vitriolo Mariano, “and to listen to the problems of the farmers, the biggest and poorest sector who are victims of development programs.”
San Manuel, an agricultural town in eastern Pangasinan, hosts the San Roque Multi-purpose dam which produces around 400-MW as its peak power generation.
Galistre-Campos, whose family is one of those to be affected by the projects, that 59 families tilling 32.5 hectares in Sto. Domingo village would lose their productive agricultural land. Other villages would also be affected, she said.
Another farmer, Inocensio Galitre said his family has been tilling the agricultural land since he was a child. “We harvest thrice because irrigation is good,” he said.
He said if the tenant-farmers would be displaced, “they are killing us slowly.
The Pilipinas Einstein promised them a relocation site but “nice houses could not replace our livelihood as farmers.”
He said residents and farmers were force to sell their agricultural land when San Roque dam was established.
“They were relocated but their lives became miserable. We don’t want to end like them,” he said.
Nice and tidy.
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