When the sun rose on Monday morning I climbed into one of the inflatables from the Rainbow Warrior and headed with mixed feelings towards the Climate Defenders Camp on the shore.
The day before had started off in a festive atmosphere. Anti-coal communities arrived in boats to support the camp as the road access had been blocked. Together we planted colourful wind socks around the camp with personal Quit Coal messages. We packed out our solar cookers and cooked noodles for everyone. It felt a little like having a picnic at a festival.
Suddenly Panay Power brought in about 100 so called “pro coal” people into our tiny camp (much more than the day before). However one of the women told a Greenpeace volunteer that they were paid 500 pesos and received free lunch to be there. The atmosphere grew tense again when Panay Power employees threatened to tear down the camp.
Intense debates took place and my full admiration goes to all the Greenpeace volunteers for always behaving calm and friendly - even when the employees started covering our 6 meter high structure with cloth enclosing our climbers. Non-violence sends out such a powerful message!
In the afternoon a priest managed to convince the Panay Power people to leave.
The next morning we broke up the camp shifting our campaign focus on Metrobank, the funder of the proposed power plant. We dumped a huge amount of coal in front of the main branch (see the viral here) and will continue our campaign nationally against them until we stopped this plant.
Taking down the camp was hard work and I felt a little sad to leave this place behind. But when the last volunteer jumped into one of the boats, some locals came running along the shore. They handed flowers to us and thanked for our support. This was a nice note to leave on.
We finished the Iloilo stop with a dinner in the archbishop's palace and are now on our way to Boracay.