BALANGA CITY, Bataan: The bishop of the Diocese of Balanga on Saturday strongly opposed the rehabilitation of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Morong, Bataan.
“The priests and the faithful of the Diocese of Balanga are strongly against and oppose the rehabilitation of the BNPP and any issues about it must end and stop now,” Bishop Ruperto Santos said.
Streamers in all churches in 11 towns and one city and some village chapels showed the sentiment of the Diocese against reviving the plant built by former President Ferdinand Marcos but ordered closed by then President Cory Aquino.
The bishop compared Mount Natibalong, the Bataan mountain range, to a sleeping volcano that may erupt with the operation of the BNPP.
The prelate said that reviving the nuclear plant is like waking up a dormant volcano that will inevitably erupt as
experienced during the Mount Pinatubo explosion.
Santos said a nuclear accident will bring more disaster and deaths or radiation particularly if there is leak.
The bishop urged government to concentrate instead in tapping renewable energy. He cited the lights along the national highway in Lubao, Pampanga powered by solar energy and some churches in Balanga City and Pilar town here.
Santos likewise mentioned the windmills in Ilocos Norte and some areas that help supply energy.
He said that Morong is on the road to prosperity because of its beautiful sandy beaches, lush mountains and fertile agricultural lands.
Marine turtles lay their eggs along the shore of Morong where thousands of hatchlings are freed into the West Philippines Sea every year.
“Are we going to sacrifice all these for the uncertain operation of the nuclear plant? Are we going to stake our life and livelihood to the instrument of death?” the Bishop asked.
“My dear friends in Christ, it’s wonderful to sleep under a peaceful environment. How can sleep soundly knowing that we are in great danger with the rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant?,” Santos said in his pastoral letter in Filipino.
Santos is permanent council member of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and chair of the CBCP–Episcopal Committee on the Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.