Letters to Pro Pinoy

A student speaks out on Broadband cap

By adtcruz

Currently both my Twitter timeline and tweets’ peace are disturbed by just one thing – the new NTC Memorandum Order that aims for a minimum bandwidth for broadband connections. It’s trying to address internet users’ concerns over ISPs’ false adverts on the services. Sadly, it was drafted without consulting the users and only the telcos were heard. On Tuesday, January 11, NTC will be holding a Public Hearing & Consultation regarding the Memorandum Order.

While the memo’s objective is to provide a minumum bandwidth for broadband connections, a concern that was earlier aired by internet users, it both got heavy flak and praises. Majority of the people in my Twitter timeline are either against or petitioning against it. Blogs and local newspapers weren’t spared by discussions regarding the memo. One of my favourite tech personalities, Rom Feria, wrote an article illustrating his stance. A colleague of mine in both the Roundtable Otakus podcast and The dere-moe Project, Mr.A, wrote a two-page article on his stance and recommendations in his website, Pinoy PC Perspective.

A copy of the memo is available here but before I start with my stance and possible effects of the memo, let me first describe my experience with three different ISPs.

Experiences and Complaints with ISPs

When I was based in Quezon City, my family subscribed to Provider A since we’re a landline subscriber for almost 13 years then. It took them three to four months until we got the base connection of just 768kbps. That time, it’s the fastest compared to the base plans of the competiting providers. During the first eight months of being connected w/ them, I always hit the subscribed speed but not the speed of advertised ‘speed boost’ during off-peak hours. On the latter part of the subscription period w/ Provider A, they suddenly changed the base plans’ speeds to just 512kbps. I wondered why my connection speed dropped, as a consequence, I spent more time online and connected just to download/stream videos. Downloading of source codes/Linux ISOs took longer too! My father and I complained the speed problem to their office but they responded with the typical “Sir, you’re subscribed to the basic plan of XXXkbps, which could get affected by the number of users in the area. If you want to, you may upgrade your plan.”

It was a good thing that around that time, my older sister applied for a ‘work from home’ opportunity in her office. And so, the office applied for a landline+DSL account from Provider B. It offers a sweet DL speed of 1MB/s and UL speed of 384kbps. We were happy w/ their service most of the times, no gripe and complaints, except from a one-day downtime that was explained clearly by their customer support. However recently, we’re experiencing/complaining the great downtime we get EVERYDAY. It worsened after the draft memo release.

And just this June 2010, I had to move to Los Banos as my University is located there. During the first weeks of my stay here, I had no internet connection. We applied to a leading telephone company for their DSL service but they refused to accept our subscription as their service is being repaired in my area within the campus. In the end, we had to settle for Provider C and their Cable telly+internet bundle. And I just thought that I’d be only experiencing a slower speed as compared with Provider B’s, but I was wrong. I, actually, have tons of complaints against this service provider. Instead of the should-be-384kbps, I only got one-half of the subscibed speed, and it was a lucky to get that. Another complaint of mine is their VERY POOR customer service. Calling their support line is just like talking to a brick wall! I, mean, the person in-charge of the phone seems to be ignorant of the situation and need of the customer! Going to their payment centre and complaining about their poor service is like asking someone to immediately do you a favour but only to find out that he or she would do it later! It also took three complaints before their technician went to inspect the problem! The technician seemed to clueless on my problems, albeit his promise of transferring me to another server helped for a bit. Yes, I now hit the 384kbps speed but not on protocol I use. That would be detailed in my next complaint.

Next complaint for Provider C’s service is their manipulation of my connection and the packets. They’re also limiting my bandwidth on torrents! Yes, I admit it, I use torrents but that’s for mostly for my anime, source codes and FOSS. There are times when my torrents hit 20+KB/s but most of the time, I get dial-up speeds and/or refusing to connect to peers. NTC’s website cannot be accessed at times! As if something’s preventing me to access it! I couldn’t even call people clearly on Skype! Not only those, uploading data on sites like Twitter is a pain in the a$$. After the browser uploads the picture/data, it should reload to the page indicating the upload’s success but, again, something/someone seems to be preventing the loading of the next page. Would you believe I actually spent 1 hour trying to change the profile picture of a Twitter account of mine just to fail?

Stance

A reason why the memo drew heavy flak is it’s clause of “a few subscribers/users connect to the internet for unreasonably long period of time depriving others users from connecting to the internet.” This is also the reason why data caps were permitted in the memo. The draft requires telcos to provide at least 80% of the subscribed bandwidth as an exchange with allowing them to cap the data transferred of their subscribers. First, how can one notice if there’s any improvement in the bandwidth or if the telco is providing at least 80% of the required bandwidth? Telcos even change the speeds without prior notice! Next, would users spend too much time on-line if the connection and it’s speeds are reliable? Imagine downloading a 330MB file for 10 hours because the speed keeps on fluctuating! As Sir Rom wrote in his article, who would do that in rising electric costs?

Next, subscribers are stuck on their respective plans’ speeds, which have different speeds right? Even if there are some “abusive” users, they’re still limited to their subscribed bandwidth! Telcos do NOT allocate a part of their bandwidth to divide it with the subscribers in the area! Data caps don’t guarantee greater or better bandwidth. I conversed with several people from around the world. A Malaysian Twitter friend usually tweeted about his 3G connection getting slow speeds even if he has good signal coverage! His telco implements the data capping on their subscribers. Lastly, giving telcos power to cap the data transferred would mean it’s susceptible to abuse by the telcos. How would the subscriber know if he/she is about to hit the ceiling? Again, this something that’s questionable. Remember the unreasonably high and ghost charges by a telco to their subscribers? If their billing system/metre is questionable, how much more if the data ceiling is fully-implemented?

One might argue the memorandum order is applicable mostly to wireless broadband and such networks are prone to abuse. Yes, I agree there are some users who abuse the wireless connection by using it as a DSL replacement but I can only agree with the data caps if they’re only implemented in mobile phones’ internet! BUT, telcos applied it to their mobile broadband services as well. Also, some providers seem to be violating Net Neutrality as well. Examples of such cases would be the Provider C mentioned earlier and the notice in this forum. And as I expected, one provider gave a 100GB/month data cap on their WIRED DSL network. With that ‘bold’ move of the said telco, I wouldn’t be surprised if other providers follow suit in giving caps to their wired home subscribers.

Possible effects

The internet is one of today’s important infrastructure. It powers SMEs, some cooperatives, freelance professionals, bloggers, education system/academe etc. How can freelance professionals operate if their connection got stalled due to data caps? We all know that are some of them are utilising consumer-grade plans in order to save more. In the academe, internet is used by students not only for the typical research but also for communication with their teachers, parents and peers. Some teachers even utilise modern tools like video conferencing to monitor his/her students’ progress! Also in some colleges and universities, students would be able to download lecture slides/notes from their professors/teachers. Cooperatives and SMEs utilise high-end consumer-grade or basic business internet plans for their business. Having data caps would affect their productivity in a way or another. Note that majority of Filipinos still access the internet via internet cafes. Data caps might cause cafes to shut down when their cafe hit the ceiling. What would happen to the effort of the current administration to convince people to start their own small business if part of their productivity depend on the internet and connections to the internet would be capped?

The said parties are one of the things that power our economy. What would happen if their productivity would be affected? Your guess is as good as mine. It might affect our economy, not positively but negatively.

Recommendations and conclusion

Despite the heavy amount of criticism I’ve written on this article, I still would be leaving a couple of unsolicited advice to the NTC. One shouldn’t be mentioned as they’re already calling for a public hearing on the matter. I advise the NTC to go over and check the current infrastructure of the telcos, enforce a standard for broadband speed and definition.

Everyone who is concerned over the memo should attend and participate in the public hearing. I won’t be able to go there as I have classes for the entire day. And oh, please sign the petition as well.

God bless us all!

# # #

Image by Gapingvoid, some rights reserved.

Editor’s note: From time-to-time The Pro Pinoy Project would publish entires by our readers. This entry was submitted by reader Anton, and is published here with his permission.


adtcruz is a fanboy of many things; true-and-blue Left-handed who just uses his right hand when holding the spoon and using the computer; Podcaster in The dere-moe Project’s podcast; Nationalist conservative; University of the Philippines-Los Baños student, currently taking up BS Computer Science degree; Writer for The dere-moe Project, and soon, for SEAsian fanboys.

A better draft memorandum order on Minimum Speed of Broadband Connections (v2)

Editor’s note:

The Jester-in-Exile sent us this over email.  It is his version of what the NTC Memorandum order should contain.  And, quite frankly, I do agree with it.  It is brilliant! The original NTC draft memorandum order is here so you can compare. -Cocoy

Author’s update (27 January 2011):

We’re updating and revamping this post based on our collaborative position paper (read it here). We hope that the NTC finds our recommendations of value, and we hope you do too. – the jester-in-exile

(Draft begins here.)

MEMORANDUM ORDER

SUBJECT: MINIMUM SPEED OF BROADBAND CONNECTIONS

WHEREAS, the 1987 Constitution fully recognizes the vital role of communications in nation building and provides for the emergence of communications structures suitable to the needs and aspirations of the nation;

WHEREAS, the promotion of competition in the telecommunications market is a key objective of Republic Act No. 7925 (RA7925, for brevity), otherwise known as The Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, which mandates that “a healthy competitive environment shall be fostered, one in which telecommunications carriers are free to make business decisions and interact with one another in providing telecommunications services, with the end in view of encouraging their financial viability while maintaining affordable rates”;

WHEREAS, RA7925 further defines the role of the government to “promote a fair, efficient and responsive market to stimulate growth and development of the telecommunications facilities and services”;

WHEREAS, RA7925 mandates the National Telecommunications Commission (the Commission/NTC, for brevity) to promote and protect the consumers of public telecommunications services;

WHEREAS, customers/ subscribers/ users have the right to be informed of the quality of the broadband/ internet connection service being provided;

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to RA7925, Executive Order (EO) No. 546 series of 1979, and in order to maintain and foster fair competition in the telecommunications industry, and promote and protect the rights of broadband service customers/ subscribers/ users, the National Telecommunications Commission hereby promulgates the following definitions and rules:

A. Definitions

A. 1. Wireless broadband: over-the-air (OTA) connectivity with theoretical downstream data rate at least 768 kbps and theoretical upstream data rate of at least 384 kbps.

A. 2. Wireless internet: OTA connectivity with theoretical downstream or upstream data rate less than wireless broadband.

A. 3. Wireline broadband: internet connectivity via terrestrial landline networks with theoretical downstream data rate at least 1 Mbps and theoretical upstream data rate of at least 768 kbps.

A. 4. Wireline internet: internet connectivity via terrestrial landline networks with theoretical downstream or theoretical upstream data rate less than wireless broadband but greater than dial-up internet.

A. 5. Dial-up internet: internet connectivity via terrestrial landline networks with theoretical downstream data rate of 56.6 kbps and theoretical upstream data rate of 48.8 kbps, as provided for by ITU-T Recommendation V.92 “Enhancements to Recommendation V.90″, or less.

A. 6. The Commission shall adopt the official technical definitions of technologies such as but not limited to GSM, HSPA, WiMax, LTE, and so forth, as provided for by the ITU and other international bodies and consortia.

B. Rules

B. 1. Service providers shall be allowed to specify the maximum (“up to”) theoretical broadband/ internet connection data rates and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 2. Service providers shall specify the minimum actual broadband/ internet connection data rates (“minimum data rates”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 3. Minimum actual downstream and upstream data rates shall not be less than 50% of advertised “up to” data rates.

B. 4. Upon the occurrence of periods where the actual downstream or upstream data rates are below the minimum data rate (“below service level data rate”), said periods (“below service level period”) shall not be subject to billing by the service provider.

B. 5. Service providers shall be allowed to specify the maximum data rate reliability (“best data rate reliability”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 6. Service providers shall specify the minimum data rate reliability (“minimum data rate reliability”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 7. Data rate reliability is measured over a period of one (1) day and calculated as:

Data rate reliability = {[(Average downstream data rate during actual usage during the day)/(“Up to” downstream data rate)] x [(Average upstream data rate during actual usage during the day)/(“Up to” upstream data rate)]} x 100%

B. 8. Data rate reliability shall not be below 80%.

B. 9. Service providers shall be allowed to specify the maximum service reliability (“best service reliability”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 10. Service providers shall specify the minimum service reliability (“minimum service reliability”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 11. Service reliability is measured over a period of one (1) day and calculated as:

Service reliability = {[(Number of seconds of actual subscriber use during the day) – (Number of seconds below service data rate during actual subscriber use during the day)] / (Number of seconds of actual subscriber use during the day)} x 100%

B. 12. Service reliability shall not be below 80%.

B. 9. Service providers shall be allowed to specify the maximum overall reliability (“best overall reliability”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 10. Service providers shall specify the minimum overall reliability (“minimum overall reliability”) and the service rates in their offers to consumers/ subscribers/ users in their advertisements, flyers, brochures and service agreements and service level agreements.

B. 11. Overall reliability is measured over a period of one (1) day and calculated as:

Overall reliability = Data rate reliability in % x Service reliability in %

B. 12. Overall reliability shall not be below 80%.

B. 13. Service providers may set maximum limits on the data volume allowed per subscriber/user per day, provided:

B. 13. a. The limit shall not be less than 80% of the data volume that can be provided per day by the maximum (“up to”) theoretical broadband/ internet connection data rate; e.g, the data volume limit of a 768 kbps downstream connection shall not be less than 80% of 7.9 GB per day, or 6.3 GB per day;

B. 13. b. No limits shall be set for upstream data volumes.

B. 14. The service offers made through advertisements, flyers, and brochures shall contain the service rates for broadband/ internet connection data rates, data rate reliability, and service reliability using any of these methods, e.g.:

B. 14. a. PhP 900.00/ month for “up to” 768 kbps maximum downstream data rate, “up to” 384 kbps maximum downstream data rate, 95% best data rate reliability, and 95% best service reliability; or,

B. 14. b. PhP 900.00/ month for 384 kbps minimum downstream data rate, 192 kbps minimum upstream data rate, 80% best data rate reliability, 80% best service reliability, and 6.4 GB daily download cap.

B. 15. Service agreements and service level agreements shall contain the service rates for broadband/ internet connection data rates, data rate reliability, and service reliability using both methods B. 14. a. and B. 14. b.

B. 16. Service providers may offer broadband/ internet connection services on a “best efforts” basis, provided:

B. 16. a. Minimum actual downstream and upstream data rates shall not be less than 50% of advertised “best effort” data rates;

B. 16. b. “Best effort” data rate reliability shall not be below 50%;

B. 16. c. Service reliability shall not be below 50%;

B. 16. d. Overall reliability shall not be below 50%

B. 16. e. “Best efforts” services must not be the sole product of the service provider.

B. 16. f. Automated means of refund or rebate shall be provided by the service provider, should any of the rules B. 16. a., B. 16. b., B. 16. c., and B. 16. d. not be met by the service provider. The service provider shall provide the refund or rebate immediately to the subscriber upon resumption of “best effort” service, without need for demand on the part of the subscriber.

B. 16. g. Should the service provider be unable to show proof of compliance with B. 16. e., the Commission shall file the appropriate administrative charges.

B. 17. Actual downstream and upstream data rates shall be measured at the subscriber end.

B. 18. Actual downstream and upstream data rates shall be measured during periods of actual subscriber use.

B. 19. Actual download data volume shall be measured at the subscriber end.

B. 20. Actual data rate reliability shall be calculated at the subscriber end.

B. 21. Actual service reliability shall be calculated at the subscriber end.

B. 22. Actual overall reliability shall be calculated at the subscriber end.

B. 23. The NTC, upon recommendation of all stakeholders, will determine the official data rate and volume measurement and monitoring tool to be used to measure network traffic.

B. 24. Service providers shall provide the official data rate and volume measurement and monitoring tool free to all their subscribers.

B. 25. Service providers shall ensure that the official data rate and volume measurement and monitoring tool shall be compatible with the operating systems of their subscribers.

B. 26. The information generated by the official data rate measurement and monitoring tool shall be the primary basis to resolve disputes regarding data rates, service reliability, and data volumes between service providers and subscribers.

B. 27. Service providers shall provide automated means for the subscriber to be made aware that the use of his internet connection is nearing “fair use” thresholds, has reached “fair use” thresholds, and has exceeded “fair use” thresholds. Service providers shall not apply speed throttling or data volume capping without such automated means of informing the subscriber.

B. 28. Service providers shall provide automated means for the subscriber to be made aware that the subscriber is nearing the end of the “fair use” period, has reached the end of the “fair use” period, and that a new “fair use” period has begun. Service providers shall not apply speed throttling or data volume capping without such automated means of informing the subscriber.

B. 29. Automated means of refund or rebate shall be provided by the service provider, should minimum standards not be met by the service provider. The service provider shall provide the refund or rebate immediately to the subscriber upon resumption of the levels of service subscribed, without need for demand on the part of the subscriber.

B. 30. The subscribers/consumers shall be properly informed of the broadband/ internet connection service being offered to them.

B. 31. Service providers may request the Commission for adjustments of data rate reliability, service reliability, and overall reliability minimum thresholds stated above, provided:

B. 31. a. The service provider submits proof that their subscriber base is not greater than 80% of their capacity;

B. 31. b. The service provider submits proof that even if their subscriber base is not greater than 80% of their capacity, their ability to meet minimum reliability thresholds is limited;

B. 31. c. The reduction in reliability thresholds shall not result in reliability thresholds less than 25% below “best efforts” reliability thresholds.

B. 31. d. The service provider shall reduce the service rates equitably, and the reduction in service rates shall not be less than 25% of the current service rates.

B. 31. e. The reduction in reliability thresholds shall be effective for only one (1) year, after which the service provider is required to comply with the minimum reliability thresholds prior to the reduction allowed by the NTC;

B. 31. f. Should the service provider be unable to show proof of compliance with B. 31. a., B. 31. b., B. 31. c., and B. 31. d., the Commission shall reject the application without prejudice to the filing of applicable administrative charges.

B. 31. g. Should the service provider be unable to show proof of compliance with B. 31. e., the Commission shall file the appropriate administrative charges, without prejudice to requiring the service provider to pay penalties and fines deemed equitable by the NTC.

B. 31. h. The Commission shall hold public hearings upon receipt of a request of a service provider for the reduction of minimum reliability thresholds.

B. 31. i. No service provider shall be allowed to make a request for the reduction of minimum reliability thresholds within one (1) year of a disapproved request for the reduction of minimum reliability thresholds or two (2) years of an approved request for the reduction of minimum reliability thresholds, whichever is applicable.

B. 32. The Commission may allow service providers different service rates for prepaid services, provided:

B. 32. a. Data rate reliability, service reliability, and overall reliability shall comply with minimum thresholds as provided for above.

B. 32. b. Prepaid services shall not be subject to speed throttling.

B. 32. c. Prepaid services shall not be subject to data volume capping.

B. 33. Service providers offering committed information rate (CIR) shall comply with NTC MC No. 12-19-2004.

B. 34. Upon failure on the part of a service provider to comply with this Order, the Commission shall file the appropriate administrative case against the said service provider.

B. 35. Any circular, order, memoranda or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are deemed repealed or amended accordingly.

B. 36. This Order shall take effect fifteen (15) days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation and three (3) certified true copies are furnished the UP Law Center.

(Draft ends here.)


Toll Hike Tsunami in the making

SLEX after rehabilitation

Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus
Dept. of Transportation and Communication

Dear Secretary De Jesus;

Thank you very much for considering hearing the side of the public with regards to the Toll Hike. It is indeed a heated and much debated issue since the toll fee hike was first discussed last year and implemented this January 2011.

It seems that the ripples of this coming Tsunami has not been considered by those who proposed it if they were indeed looking out for the welfare of their riding public. A 300% increase does not only affect commuters and those with vehicles, it will affect everyone – and I mean everyone, even those who do not use the SLEX.

With a 300% increase – everything – from the simple newspaper delivery to and from Metro Manila to the cargo delivery to and from Metro Manila of everything under the sun – from consumables [food, livestock, poultry, fish, vegetables, canned goods, dry goods, etc] to things used that are delivered [car parts, furniture, spare parts, appliances, different types of equipment and their parts] and even fuel – raw to processed fuel – everything will be affected. Things and produce that come from the southern part of Luzon that use the SLEX as a main artery to deliver their wares and goods will also be affected.

Delivery fees, middlemen fees, bus fares, jeepney fares, etc will jack up just cover the cost of plying the SLEX and this exorbitant toll fee charge. Prices of each and every item that pass through the SLEX will be affected and it will go up and everyone in Metro Manila and those in the southern part of Luzon will be adversely affected by any expected price increases of goods, services and other deliveries. The prices of fuel will go up, the cost of travelling to and from will go up, and this will affect everyone who travels via SLEX, parents and students, the working class and even local tourists will be affected.

Just as this country sees hope with a new administration, the prices of everything seem to be going up and to put an increase this big on such a vital artery like SLEX might and will be the straw that breaks our backs. This unfair increase isn’t something that jives with the ideals set upon us when President Aquino took his Oath of Office.

I hope and pray that any increase be seen from all angles and be considered from all angles and not just of those who will benefit from this. Apparently, the SLEX isn’t there anymore to “serve” the riding/commuting public nor does it appear as something that is more beneficial to the greater majority of Filipinos. I honestly feel those who manage the SLEX and insist on pushing through with this increase does not want the public to use the highway. It actually feels like entrapment because there is no other choice nor alternative to get from point A to point B and for those who manage it to loosely comment that those who object can use the “service roads” and/or alternative routes is utterly insensitive to the plight of ordinary citizens – millions of whom live at both ends of the SLEX even in and around it.

The Philippine Constitution states that the right to travel will not be ” impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.” – in which case – the right to travel freely within our country is going to be greatly impaired with this increase. Of course, nothing comes for free. There has to be some middle ground everyone can benefit from. 300% increase is not middle ground nor is it a win-win solution. It is very lopsided favoring only those who proposed it and will prosper from it and they are not even Filipinos but this is on Filipino soil used by Filipinos.

I pray the voices of Filipinos be heard and the plight of the common man be addressed first before anything else by this government.

With best wishes.

Regards,

Jenifer C. Aquino-Xavier
306 Buena Vida Homes
Merville Park Subdivision
Parañaque City.

Dear PNoy: Why didn’t my wife get her full bonus?

I just want to put it to the attention of Pnoy or any government person out there. What’s the standard procedure in releasing the Christmas bonuses promised to government employees? Media has announced the amount of the bonuses on air and in print over the last week or so. My question is why didn’t my wife receive the whole amount? According to Pnoy, the bonuses should be received in full whether you’re a regular or a contractual employee. According to my wife, they have certain item numbers including it seems item 0 which is basically saying you have no item and management of the government office involve can do anything they want with their account. What happens to the amount slashed from the employees? Where does it go? How can these employees find out that whether or not they were given their fair share?

Pnoy has promised a government of accountability and transparency. I hope they explain to their people what’s what.

Thanks for your day.

Signed,

Alejandro Colcol

(via email)

Disclaimer: From time to time, The Pro Pinoy Project publishes letters or comment sent to us by our readers.  This is one of them.

Aboitez power plant

From time to time, The Pro Pinoy Project would publish comments, email, or letters we receive from a reader.  Posting these do not reflect our agreement or disagreement with subject matter of those letters, unless we otherwise note.

We have removed email addresses included in this correspondence to protect the privacy of those recipients.

From: Narciso Ner
Date: October 12, 2010 4:53:50 AM GMT+08:00
To: News Sun Star, sunstar davao, news Mindanao Examiner, letters pro pinoy
Cc: “Atty. Sara Duterte”, Robert Alabado, yawa27

Subject: Aboitez power plant

Dear Editor,

The  proposed coal-fired power plant of Aboitez Power Corp. has just received the endorsement of the presiding officer of the Davao City Council, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Although this is unfortunate considering that coal is by far the dirtiest pollutant and its burning has been contributing to global warming, and is linked to environmental and health issues ranging from acid rain to asthma, there is hope because Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio has objected to this project.


I call upon my fellow Dabawenyos to show their support to our Mayor by publicly opposing the construction of this coal-fired power plant. The World Health Organization has reported that air pollution kills more than 2 million people  prematurely. There’s also the problem of coal combustion waste disposal, since concentrated ash includes toxics such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, selenium and mercury. Besides these, there’s the financial drawback. In China alone, health costs related to air pollution runs to $68 Billion a year nearly 4% of its economic output and crops destroyed amounts to $4 Billion annualy. Acid rain has also contaminated a third of that country. There are other environmentally friendly and free sources of energy like the sun and the wind which could be tapped, that is why first world countries like the U.S., Germany and Great Britain have been venturing on solar, wind and ocean current energy. The neighboring province of Davao del Sur has already on the works of providing cheap electricity through solar power. Why don’t we?
How can Aboitez assure a clean coal-fired plant when it is a fact that it is too expensive to have this so-called “clean” plant as evidenced by an existing one in Germany which has to be run by the state because no private entity can afford to operate it. The Aboitez family, if they do live in the city can afford to move residence when the time comes that this coal-fired power  plant posses a threat to the health and environment leaving Dabawenyos at the mercy of the elements.
Narciso Limsiaco Ner
Irvine, California

  • Power plant pollution is responsible for 38,200 nonfatal heart attacks and 554,000 asthma attacks each year.
  • Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida had the highest overall mortality rates each year, and West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee — states with a large number of coal-fired plants — had the highest per capita mortality risk.
  • The study relied on computer modeling to compare EPA data on power plant emission levels and dispersal patterns with results of epidemiological studies by Harvard University in 1993 and the American Cancer Society in 1995, said Ledford.

    The data came from 2002 for soot — microscopic particles linked to asthma, heart disease and other health problems — along with acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide and smog-forming nitrogen oxides, Ledford said.

    According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the burning of coal, a fossil fuel, is a major contributor to global warming. (See the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report).

    Some in the coal industry and the U.S. Department of Energy refer to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as the latest in “clean coal” technologies. The “clean coal” terminology is generally not endorsed by professionals in CCS, and is actively opposed by environmental organizations that favor CCS. CCS is a means to capture carbon dioxide from any source, compress it to a dense liquid-like state, and inject and permanently store it underground. Currently, there are more than 80 carbon capture and sequestration projects underway in the United States.[16] All components of CCS technology have been used for decades in conjunction with enhanced oil recovery and other applications; commercial-scale CCS is currently being tested in the U.S. and other countries. Proposed CCS sites are subjected to extensive investigation and monitoring to avoid potential hazards, which could include leakage of sequestered CO2 to the atmosphere, induced geological instability, or contamination of aquifers used for drinking water supplies.[17][18]

    Supporters of clean coal use the Great Plains Synfuels plant to support the technical feasibility of carbon dioxide sequestration. Carbon dioxide from the coal gasification is shipped to Canada where it is injected into the ground to aid in oil recovery. Supporters acknowledge that economics can be problematic for carbon sequestration.[19]

    The Asian brown cloud is a layer of air pollution that covers parts of South Asia, namely the northern Indian Ocean, India, and Pakistan.[1][2] Viewed from satellite photos, the cloud appears as a giant brown stain hanging in the air over much of South Asia and the Indian Ocean every year between January and March, possibly also during earlier and later months. In some humidity conditions, it forms haze. It is created by a range of airborne particles and pollutants from combustion (e.g. woodfires, cars, and factories), biomass burning[4] and industrial processes with incomplete burning.[5] The cloud is associated with the winter monsoon (November/December to April) during which there is no rain to wash pollutants from the air.[6]

    One major impact is on health. The 2002 study indicated nearly two million people die each year in India alone from conditions related to the brown cloud.[11]

    The second assessment study was published in 2008.[12] It highlighted regional concerns:

    • Changes of rainfall patterns with the Asian monsoon. The observed weakening Indian monsoon and in China northern drought and southern flooding is influenced by the clouds.
    • Increase in rainfall over the Top End and Kimberley. A CSIRO study has found that by displacing the thermal equator southwards via cooling of the air over East Asia, the monsoonwhich brings most of the rain to these regions has been intensified and displaced southward.[13]
    • Retreat of the Hindu KushHimalayan glaciers and snow packs. The cause is attributed to rising air temperatures that are more pronounced in elevated regions, a combined warming effect of greenhouse gases and the Asian Brown Cloud. Also deposition of black carbon decreases the reflection and exacerbates the retreat. Asian glacial melting could lead to water shortages and floods for the hundreds of millions of people who live downstream.
    • Decrease of crop harvests. Elevated concentrations of surface ozone is likely to affect crop yields negatively. The impact is crop specific.

    The report also addressed the global concern of warming and concluded that the brown clouds have masked 20 – 80 percent of greenhouse gas forcing in the past century. The report suggested that air pollution regulations can have large amplifying effects on global warming.

    Another major impact is on the polar ice caps. Black carbon (soot) in the Asian Brown Cloud may be reflecting sunlight and dimming Earth below but it is warming other places by absorbing incoming radiation and warming the atmosphere and whatever it touches [14]. Black carbon is three times more effective than carbon dioxide–the most common greenhouse gas–at melting polar ice and snow [15]. Black carbon in snow causes about three times the temperature change as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. On snow —even at concentrations below five parts per billion— dark carbon triggers melting, and may be responsible for as much as 94 percent of Arctic warming[16]. As a result arctic sea ice cover is shrinking year-round, with more ice melting in the spring and summer months and less ice forming in the fall and winter. Arctic sea ice melted over the summer of 2010 to cover.