Farmers slam BNPP revival plans, saying Filipinos still paying for Marcos Sr. loans

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The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is seen during a media tour around the BNPP compound in Morong town, Bataan province, Philippines September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is seen during a media tour around the BNPP compound in Morong town, Bataan province, Philippines September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Farmer party-list Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) criticized Wednesday (March 9) the plans of political tandem Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), citing the $2.2 billion (now valued at P114.76 billion) outstanding debt the dictator incurred from constructing the plant.

"Filipinos are still paying for the $2.2 billion costs of the BNPP and other foreign loans used to finance the power plant that was never used up to this day," said Rafel “Ka Paeng” Mariano, Anakpawis chair and former Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) secretary.

Mariano said that Marcos Sr. along with his wife Imelda and crony Herminio Disini “pocketed $50 million (now valued at P2.61 billion) in commissions.”

"In case BBM forgot, his father, Ferdinand Sr., and crony Herminio Disini sank the country into unimaginable debt by taking out a multibillion-dollar nuclear loan package from Westinghouse Electric Corp,” he said. “We will never allow Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte to use the same scheme employed by Marcos Sr. and Disini.”

Ka Paeng added that the main purpose of BNPP’s construction was for corruption.

"The 621-megawatt BNPP was never politicized as claimed by Marcos Jr. It was conceived for corruption and was bound to fail from the beginning. How can Marcos Jr. even bring up the issue of nuclear power when his family and their cronies used the BNPP project to enrich themselves?" he said.

Mariano then said that nuclear power “can never be viable and practical in the Philippines”, calling the project a “$2.2 billion artifact.” He then called on to have a “nationalized” power generation sector to keep local electricity rates affordable.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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