BALANGA City, Bataan: The call “to bury” the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Napot Pt. at the Bataan mountain town of Morong has snowballed with the gathering of anti-nuclear veterans and new generation of advocates in a symposium Monday for a new fight against the re-commissioning of what they call as the “Monster of Morong.”
After the forum that lasted from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., about 500 people joined the torch parade around the major streets in the city of Balanga. Chants of “Tutulan BNPP” filed the air.
Monsignor Antonio Dumaual, lawyer Dante Ilaya, University of the Philippines Prof. Roland Simbulan and Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga led the anti-nuke veterans in the forum with new crop of advocates. Some nuns were seen in the forum and in the torch parade.
Dumaual, former chairperson of the Nuclear Free Bataan Movement in the 1980s threatened to go back to the streets and conduct “welgang Bayan,” as they did at the height of the struggle against the nuclear plant then.
“Pero, sana naman makinig na ang gobyerno para hindi na maulit ang malawakang protesta tulad noon,” the priest of the Hermosa (Bataan) parish said. Speakers reminisced how they participated in mass actions all over Bataan. Some pictures of the protest actions were shown.
Dumaual said the call against the re-commissioning of the nuclear power plant began after bishop Socrates Villegas issued three pastoral statements condemning the revival of the BNPP. The pastoral letters were read during masses for two consecutive Sundays already.
The third statement would be read this coming Sunday after which the following Monday (February 23), a prayer rally would be held in front of the St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City.
Monsignor Dumaual said the International Atomic Energy Commission has found 4,000 defects in the BNPP “with some defects that can no longer be remedied.” The participants in the forum signed a giant “Statement against revival of BNPP.”
Among Panlilio said he has been against the nuclear plant since he was a seminarian. “Tutol ako noon at tutol pa rin ako ngayon,” he said. The priest-turned-politician said the BNPP was marred with anomalies after anomalies. He said the plant reportedly stands in an earthquake fault, which is dangerous not only for the people of Bataan but most in central Luzon.
“Wala pang kakayahan sa science ng nuclear ang Pilipinas at saan dadalhin ang nuclear waste,” the Pampanga governor said. He called on every one to unite and register their voices against the nuclear plant. “Hindi lamang mga taga-Bataan ang magbabayad ng uutangin na namang $1 bilyon kundi ang lahat ng mga Pilipinong taxpayers,” Panlilio said.
Gov. Enrique Garcia of Bataan has also registered his sentiment against the opening of the BNPP. “Tanungin muna natin ang taong-bayan at sila ang dapat masunod,” he said.
— Ernie B. Esconde, Manila Times