June 28, 2019 (5:06 PM)

2 min read


DISRUPT. University President Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. said that there’s a need to disrupt the coal industry in the country as one of the reactors in a documentary screening and forum titled, “OUR POWER: Is there a better option than coal?”

Photo by Julien Jame Apale

University President Fr. Joel Tabora persuaded engineering students to conduct projects on sustainable energy as the need to gradually detach from coal-fired energy sources intensifies.

“What we need are new minds in order to be able to help us with this (sustainable energy) transition,” he said Wednesday at Finster Auditorium. “We need to move away from the coal-fired power plants.”

The forum, titled ‘Our Power: Is There a Better Option than Coal?’, featured an investigative documentary tackling Philippines’ dependency on coal as its main source of energy.

Representatives from Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower), Department of Energy (DOE), the Catholic Church, Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Pamantasan ng Ateneo de Davao (SAMAHAN) and the academe graced the event to express their ideas on the matter.

Fr. Tabora disclosed that the university saves more than P1 million in a month in electrical costs due to its renewable energy facilities.

“It’s even come to a point where Davao Light is a little bit concerned,” he said, to the laughter of the crowd, emphasizing the university’s use of solar energy as a cost-cutting technique.

Tabora also noted an ongoing project of the university’s faculty members and researchers on which they would utilize the powerful tides of Basilan Strait to convert it to electrical energy and encouraged the representatives present to get involved with them on the said project.

“Because what essentially has to be done is through technology we have to disrupt coal-fired power plants and put them out of business—sorry—so that [AboitizPower’s] investments on renewable energy can pay-off,” he said, referring to company’s renewable energy brand Cleanergy.

The symposium ended with the signing of the Laudato Si pledge of commitment by the representatives.

In an interview, an engineering student said that while he supports renewable energy, it would still be up to other students to opt it. He suggested the university should offer incentives.

“If [Fr. Tabora] wants to motivate the students, he should offer ‘cash rewards’ to the best thesis proposals and new ideas. Of course, the school also really needs new equipment because they are already outdated,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Coal, a fossil fuel, is used for being an abundant and cheap source of energy. However, due to mining, health and environmental hazards associated with it, a global call to shift to sustainable and environment-friendly sources is more strengthened.

End the silence of the gagged!

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