In the News: Youth groups join anti-nuke revival movement

20 03 2009

BAYOMBONG, Philippines – Activist groups opposed to the planned reopening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) have gained more supporters in the youth sector with the launching of Youth and Students Opposed to BNPP Revival (Youth Stop BNPP Revival!).


 Students from organizations at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City, have banded together during an environmental forum last week to voice their opposition to the government’s plan to revive the mothballed nuclear plant. Besides being an environmental risk, reopening the nuclear plant would make the youth suffer the most, Marjorie Pamintuan, Youth Stop BNPP Revival! spokesperson and vice chairperson of Agham Youth, said in a statement. “Running the plant effectively takes away our chances of having a good future by worsening the economic burdens of our families through imposed taxes and threatening our well being because of its environmental and health effects,” Pamintuan said. Jemimah Garcia, chairperson of Anakbayan UP Diliman and Youth Stop BNPP Revival! co-convenor, said the BNPP revival “endangers the youth’s right to education.” “The nuclear plant exposes the government’s abandonment of its responsibility to provide the youth with affordable or free quality education by choosing to invest $1 billion on a dangerous nuclear power plant instead of using it to build new schools, improve public school facilities and sponsor scholarships to poor and deserving students” Garcia said.


Ram Hernandez of the League of Filipino Students and members of UP’s Club EcoTour, led by Jonaleen Kris-Ann Argel, joined the youth’s call for the stoppage of the plant’s revival with a statement claiming that “the BNPP puts the Philippine environment in great danger in the event of a nuclear accident.” UP students from Bataan have memorialized their parents’ fight against the BNPP, when the plant was first constructed during the era of former President Ferdinand Marcos. “Our parents and those who came before us fought against the operation of the nuclear power plant in the 1980s because they knew it will rob their children and grandchildren of a good future. It is by that reason that we youth and students from Bataan will continue the fight that was already won, but disrespected by the proponents of the revival,” said student John Paul Gelomina.


The plant’s reopening has spawned numerous issues and debates among its proponent, Rep. Mark Cojuangco and his allies in Congress, against environmental activist groups NO to BNPP!, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, scientist group Agham and other anti-BNPP revival alliances. The alliance has repeatedly claimed that aside from it being anomalous, defective and corrupt, the project will only be another milking cow of big-time politicians and wealthy families in the country at the expense of the Filipino people.


The accusations were, however, downplayed by Cojuangco who made a statement in Congress that the planned re-opening of BNPP, which is expected to provide cheap energy, will undergo rigid scientific studies to ensure safety and reliability once the project is approved. Congress has recently authorized P100 million to finance the proposed studies. Proponents to the plant’s reopening said the concept of a cheaper power source came in the wake of a looming worldwide energy crisis. – Floro Taguinod, GMANews.TV





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