Negros bishop to banks: Stop giving loans to coal plant developers

MANILA, Philippines – A Catholic bishop has called on banks to stop giving loans to coal plant developers, saying doing so makes then funders of the climate crisis.

“Banks financing coal are not only funding the climate crisis, they are also enabling the continued suffering of coal-affected communities,”   said during the 3rd Philippine Environment Summit held in Cagayan de Oro on Friday, February 28.

The group Withdraw from Coal Campaign said that 13 Philippine banks have given loans amounting to $6.3 billion for coal plant development from 2017 to the third quarter of 2019.

Alminaza said banks must instead use their funds to support the supply of clean and affordable renewable energy to Filipinos.

Leaving behind coal has been an advocacy of environmental groups for years now, backed by international bodies like the United Nations which had urged countries to reduce greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

President Rodrigo Duterte had said he would tax coal.

Alminaza acknowledged Duterte's pronouncements, but said as coal plants continued to dominate the country's energy sector, the industry must come up with more creative ways to the force reduction of coal dependence.

“As fulfillment of their moral obligation, Philippine banks must have concrete plans to phase out coal finance in the time required by today’s climate crisis. They must have clear policies restricting their exposure to coal, channeling the funds they divest from it into clean and affordable renewable energy for all Filipinos,” Alminaza said.

A petition addressed to several banks which have "financial relations" with Church organizations was passed around during the summit for signatures.

"Withdraw from Coal" is spearheaded by Church groups. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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