Photo by Benjamin Cuaresma

Multiple organizations have come together on Thursday, August 17, to strongly urge the government to announce a state of public health emergency in Batangas. Their demand also includes a comprehensive investigation into the health repercussions of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the inhabitants of Batangas City.

Convening on this day were medical professionals, legal experts, concerned residents from affected communities, and advocacy groups. Their collective effort marked the commencement of a campaign imploring the Department of Health to officially acknowledge the pressing need for a health emergency declaration.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) in collaboration with the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development.

PMCJ’s national coordinator, Ian Rivera, emphasized the profound impact of the situation, stating, “The individuals bearing the brunt of these consequences are not mere data points. They are our kin, our compatriots. Even when words escape them due to their respiratory struggles, we stand as their voice.”

Since 2021, over 4,000 residents of Batangas have reportedly fallen victim to respiratory infections and cardiovascular ailments attributed to the hazardous emissions emanating from fossil gas plants in proximity to the city.

Presently, the Philippines hosts a total of six LNG power plants, with five of them situated in Batangas.

The communities encompassing these facilities, namely Ilijan, Malitam, Sta. Rita Karsada, Tabangao Ambulong, and Tabangao Aplaya, have borne the brunt of this environmental burden. Escalating occurrences of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases have been observed, with statistics from the Batangas Health Office revealing a staggering one in ten individuals being affected. (AI/MNM)