Sept. 1, 2016, MANILA – The Philippine Catholic Church, specifically Balanga Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos has opposed the opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. In a statement he said: ” The BNPP damages life, livelihood and nature. The BNPP is not the answer to the present needs of the people. No one is safe from the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.”
The church has stiffened its position stating that reviving the BNPP puts the public at risk, most specially the residents of nearby provinces.
Government however has seen potential in the powerplant alleviating the rising cost of electricity. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi says that opening the BNPP will provide additional 620 MW of electricity which will stabilize the whole grid in the long term.
“It is safe to use! It is an unpopular option but it is a cheap and long lasting option that will be good for our country” said Cusi during a hearing conducted by the Senate.
The Philippines has been lagging behind its neighbors in electric power generation, making it one of the countries in Asia with the highest electricity cost per kilowatt hour. This high cost in power has been a factor why the Philippines has been sidelined by foreign investors who have opted to go to China, Vietnam and even Indonesia.
Other sources of power are depletable according to Cusi who identified Malampaya as a source that will be depleted by 2024. He said that it is the role of government to look for alternative sources that will lower electricity cost. The Church has countered that alternatives can be found in renewable energy sources like the wind and the sun.
The benefits of opening the BNPP will be lower electricity rates for the consumer both private and business sectors; a stable supply for the whole grid and more investors coming to the Philippines which in turn creates more jobs.
Extensive studies are now being conducted on the BNPP and its viability and will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval. The government has been paying 27 Million pesos for the maintenance and upkeep of the mothballed plant.
This news is verified by Newsme Philippines