22 February 2009
Debt & Public Finance
- Members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) join Greenpeace in a thousand-strong human banner to form the words “NO to BNPP” to oppose the proposed revival of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
FDC and Greenpeace are members of the Network Opposed to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (No to BNPP!)
, an alliance formed to oppose House Bill 4631 and Senate Bill 2665 filed by Rep. Mark Cojuangco and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to commission the BNPP, citing a need to address a purported energy shortage of 3,000 MW by 2012.
“Let us not throw good money after the bad. We are not yet sure if we are through paying the original BNPP, yet here is the government again proposing to incur new illegitimate debts in order to address an imaginary power shortage”, three-time Akbayan Representative and now FDC Vice President Etta Rosales said.
Rosales calls the BNPP “a glaring example of the country’s fraudulent, wasteful, and useless debts” and a “symbol of Philippines’ struggle against government’s debt-driven development strategy peppered with rent seeking and cronyism”.
“Why is Cojuangco harping on an imagined power shortage? We actually have a total surplus of 4,212 MW annually which is the difference between what we consume at peak demand and what is actually available, or what we call dependable capacity. Even assuming there is a shortage (when in fact we have a surplus), how can a plant, which cannot be finished by 2012, address a shortage by that time? Besides, in the context of the current global economic crisis that is now hitting the Philippines, our problem is to protect our local industries that have started to close down. An economy with a solid and strong industrial base that is expanding will demand increased power capacity. This is hardly true for the Philippine economy today.” Rosales asked.
“I call on the members of the House of Representatives who have signed the Cojuangco bill to be accountable first and foremost to the Filipino people before using friendship as reason for supporting the revival of the BNPP. This demands at the very least a call for a feasibility study that would look into the economic, financial and technical implications of commissioning the Bataan nuclear power plant. It also demands that we study and compare the potentials of renewable energy which use we just signed into law. And for this purpose, we must first withdraw our signatures and know the dangers of the bill before supporting it on the basis of “pakikisama”, an argument commonly used for signing bills in Congress”, Rosales added.
Asians voice support
A member of the Malaysian Parliament joined the human banner and voiced out his support for the junking of the two “illegitimate debt bills”.
MP (Member of the Parliament) Charles Santiago of Malaysia recalls the original BNPP as one of the primary symbol of the international debt movement’s opposition versus odious debts.
Santiago was joined by nine (9) international debt activists from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Philippines. They are part of the Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD), a network campaigning for the repudiation and cancellation of illegitimate debts.