Faith-based, civil society groups asked solons to “ascend from evil, drop the BNPP bill”

MANILA, Philippines - As the 14th Congress resumes its session today, oppositors of the planned opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) also resume their campaign by simultaneously flying 100 kites at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City to symbolize their resistance against the proposed use of the BNPP, and to appeal to lawmakers to “ascend from the evil scheme of opening a very detrimental nuclear plant” by withdrawing their endorsement from House Bill 4631 and Senate Bill 2665, and by rejecting the passage of the bill in both Houses.

Organized by the Faith-Based Congress Against Immoral Debts (FCAID), a broad formation of different church and religious groups against immoral debts, the kite-flying event dubbed as the “ Collective Ascension of Kites Against the BNPP” reflects the renewal of collective hope as we celebrate the message of Easter.  It promises to be the biggest gathering so far of different faith-based, social movements and coalitions against BNPP.  

Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D., Chair of the NASSA-CBCP, Bishop Efraim M. Tendero D.D., Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, Fr. Fernando A. Loreto, Parish Priest of Morong, Bataan, Fr. Ben Moraleda of FCAID and one of the Vice Presidents of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), and other church leaders witnessed and participated in the event.  

“While we collectively commemorate Easter, we also manifest the Filipino people’s struggle to ascend from the evil consequences of operating the BNPP, which will push the country and the people deeper into the vicious debt and underdevelopment trap,” Fr. Moraleda said. He added that the activity also calls the immediate attention of our lawmakers especially those who have signed and/or expressed support for the opening of the contested nuclear power plant.

“Lest they want to be perceived as morally bankrupt and all-out disreputable government leaders, we hope our lawmakers will fight the temptation of evil and find in their hearts to do what is moral and decent by withdrawing their signatures from the BNPP bill,” Moraleda said.

Various faith-based groups, social movements and communities see their and opposition to BNPP as an act of “choosing life over debt.” The church groups also said that the campaign against BNPP is now the shared responsibility of all people of faith and goodwill.

Social movements and communities, especially Bataan, who have been in the forefront of the campaign against the opening of the nuclear plant, welcomed this shared responsibility.

Former party-list representative Loretta Ann Rosales described this as an inspired coming together of church and people, which hopes to turn the tide against the Cojuangco-led BNPP bill that is hell-bent in setting up the monster of Morong.

Rosales who is also a Vice President of FDC and a convenor of the Network Opposed to the BNPP (NO to BNPP) said the increasing vigilance of the church against the BNPP is a “welcome development.” She added that the people and the church, through the different faith-based organizations could provide the political leverage and spiritual force against the BNPP that would ultimately spell the difference.

“And with an end to the BNPP, the people can start charting their future in active support of indigenous and renewable energy that is beneficial to all,” Rosales stressed.

Other participating faith-based and social movement groups include:
Missionary Society of St. Columban – Fr. John Leydon, MSC; Diocese of Novaliches; Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (SFIC), Order of Friars Minor (OFM) & St. Anthony Shrine/V.O.T Friary- Fr. Rolly Abas & Bro. Ver Mendoza, OFM; Order of Preachers (OP)/ Siena College Q.C.- Sr. Edeva Jover, O.P.; Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) – Sr. Arnold Maria Noel, SSPs; Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King (OSB); Diliman Campus Bible Church (DCBC); St. John the Baptist Parish of San Juan; National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church);

FCAID Member Organizations: Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines-Secretariat (AMRSP-Sec’t) – Fr. Victor “Junvic” B. Diolata, SSS; Institute of Spirituality in Asia (ISA) – Fr. Christian “Toots” B. Buenafe, O.Carm; Institute of Studies for Asian Church and Culture (ISACC) – Jenny Llaguno; Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission (JPICC-AMRSP); Kaalagad Katipunang Kristiyano (KKK) – Ms. Yolly Esguerra; Women and Gender Commission (WGC-AMRSP) – Tess Caseñas   

Social Movements, Coalitions and Communities (partial list): NOtoBNPP!- Ms. Loretta Anne Pargas-Rosales; NOtoBNPP! - Atty. Corazon Fabros; Nuclear Free Bataan Movement (NFBM);Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) - Ana Maria Nemenzo; Greenpeace SEA – Beau Baconguis & Francis Joseph Dela Cruz; Lingkod Tao-Kalikasan – Sr. Aida Velasquez, OSB; Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD); Care for the Earth; Great Work Movement; Task Force Detainees of the Philippines; and, National Museum Volunteers.

FDC Chapters