Rallies against BNPP start

    BALANGA CITY –  More than 100 placard-bearing farmers, fishermen and the youth on Monday before noon held a two-hour rally along major streets of Balanga City and later at the Bataan Capitol to show strong opposition to the reactivation of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Napot Pt., Morong town.

    Jaime Penaranda, spokesman of the Kilusang Pambansang Demokrasya and chairman of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bataan, said their protest action is just the beginning of bigger mass actions should government pursue the re-opening of the nuclear plant.

    “We closed Bataan for three days in the 1980s in opposition to the operation of the BNPP and we will do it again and conduct massive rallies with other big groups should the plant be reactivated,” the farmer leader said in Tagalog.

    “Walang tiyak na pagtatapunan ng basurang nuclear at kung may aksidente ay walang kakayahan ang gobyerno na ilikas ang mga mamamayan,” Penaranda added.as rallyists shouted anti-BNPP slogans.

    The farmer leader said government should instead tap the land, water, waves and other sources of energy and use the $1 billion intended for BNPP’s rehabilitation for food and livelihood of the poor.

    Gov. Enrique Garcia talked with the rallyists infront of the Bataan capitol and explained that he and his son, Rep. Albert “Abet” Garcia of Bataan’s Second District, have not given their approval to the reactivation of the BNPP. “This shows that Congressman Abet is not a sponsor of the bill,” he clarified.

    Congressman Garcia, the governor said, has not affixed his signature as sponsor of House Bill 4631 introduced by Negros Oriental Rep. Mark Cojuangco and scores of other congressmen aimed at reactivating the BNPP for $1 billion.

    Cojuangco, Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, and other congressmen made an inspection of the BNPP last week.

    “Pinakamahalaga na kunin muna ang pulso, ang damdamin ng taong-bayan sapagka’t kahit sabihing ang nuclear power ang pinakamalinis na source of energy, na malaking tulong ito sa ekonomiya, na ligtas ito, bale wala ang lahat ng ito kung tututol ang mayorya sa ating mga mamamayan,” the Bataan governor emphasized.

    He said that the lesson on the mothballed BNPP should serve as warning to its proposed reactivation.  “After government poured in P115 billion for the BNPP to operate in 1986, its operation was stopped and the country lost millions of pesos more in building new plants,” Garcia said.

    He said that the sentiment of the rallyists seemed to be his too to the loud applause of the protesters. “Even the priests headed by Bishop Socrates Villegas are against the operation of the nuclear power plant,” the governor said.


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