Value water, end coal: a call to Philippine banks

On World Water Day, Withdraw from Coal expresses our solidarity with the millions of Filipinos and billions around the world for whom access to clean water remains elusive.


We issue this statement rejecting coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. From its extraction to combustion, coal pollutes the air, soil, and water on which communities across the Philippines depend on. Power generation from coal is a water-intensive process, which is why coal plants are always situated next to bodies of water. The use and eventual discharge of water in many power plants expose host communities and marine ecosystems to unnaturally warm water temperatures and coal processing by-products, such as coal ash. As we commemorate the value of water with the rest of the world, we call once again for the Philippines to abandon coal in favor of tapping into the abundant renewable sources of energy available in our country which can provide clean and affordable power without threatening water security for our people.


With the issuance by the Department of Energy of a moratorium on new coal projects last year, the Philippine coal pipeline has started to shrink. But this is not happening fast enough, as the intensifying climate crisis and the continued suffering of our people and environment from coal demand an immediate end to the country’s dependence on it. We reiterate that the coal industry would not be able to continue in its destructive ways if not for the financial institutions that invest in it.


We urge Philippine banks, among which fifteen were found to have channeled at least US$13.42 billion to coal developers and projects from 2009-2019, to withdraw from coal now. A month from now, the Bank of the Philippine Islands and BDO Unibank - the two banks with the biggest share in total amount of loans and underwriting provided to the coal industry - will be holding their respective annual shareholders meetings. We call on these two and all the rest to use these events as a venue to prove their climate and sustainability leadership with a public commitment to restrict and eventually phase-out their financial support for coal. These acts would prove that these banks indeed value water and other vital life systems in the country, and the welfare of the Filipino public they claim to serve.


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For inquiries, contact Trisha Balan at 0995 662 3416