MANILA, Philippines – In the course of consolidating the proposed House Bill to immediately rehabilitate and operate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) with related bills, 60 endorsers and supporters disappeared along the way.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), a member of the Network Opposed to the BNPP (NO to BNPP), sees this as the result – in part – of the “People Are Watching You” campaign – a people’s direct engagement and vigilant watch over of legislators and urging them to withdraw support from the BNPP bill.

“We, note with interest that there is a significant reduction of endorsers on the proposed consolidated bill than on the original mother bill,” said FDC acting president Etta Rosales.  “In response to our campaign, and because of the questions about this dangerous bill that have been there from the beginning, groups and communities across the country have been raising their grave concerns regarding this piece of legislation.”  

The proposed bill (HB 6300), sponsored Pampanga Rep. Mickey Aroyo and principally authored by Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, calls for the “immediate rehabilitation and commissioning” of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.  The original bill (HB 4631) listed 185 co-authors.  The current consolidated bill lists only 125 co-authors.

The BNPP was mothballed in 1986 over concerns about safety and has never been operated.  The plant was built in an earthquake fault zone and on the slope of an ancient volcano in Morong, Bataan.

Congress will go into marathon session starting Monday, May 25.  The BNPP bill is one of the “priority bills” to be debated.  For its part, FDC continues its campaign and its critique of the bill to legislators.  While raising substantive issues about the plant’s unknown costs and potential safety hazards, the central issue in the critique of HB 6300 is that there has been no recent feasibility study concerning the rehabilitation of the plant, and the bill does not make reference to any of the feasibility studies that were conducted before or after the plant was mothballed 22 years ago.

Buried in the bill is a provision for conducting a feasibility study with a P100-M appropriation.  

“The bill really contradicts itself,” said Rosales.  “A feasibility study should be conducted before such a bill is taken up.  Without a recent feasibility study we have no idea what the costs might be, and to what risk we are placing the people of Bataan and the rest of the country.”

Also on Monday, at 9:00 a.m., cyclists from Morong, Bataan will be welcomed at Quezon City Hall by members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition and the NOtoBNPP.  From there they will all make the final leg of the journey to the House of Representatives. -30-

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