GMA, Danding greed behind BNPP revival

GMA, Danding greed behind BNPP revival

The promise of huge kickbacks from the $ 1 billion budget allocation for the re-commissioning of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is the main reason why President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco through his son Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco are pushing efforts to revive the controversial project.

“The uncontrollable greed of President Arroyo and Danding Cojuangco is driving motive behind the revival of BNPP. Ms Arroyo and the real Pacman can deny this to high heaven but the $ 1 billion budget for BNPP re-commissioning is something they cannot ignore and just let go,” the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

According to Hicap, by design and by standard, top officials of the Macapagal-Arroyo government who are behind the BNPP revival could get as much as 20 percent of the 1 billion US dollar allocation in total commission once the project is started.

“Since that is the policy for brokers, the corrupt officials of the Arroyo government could get as much as 200 million US dollars as direct and indirect commissions from the BNPP revival. On the other hand, Danding’s group will be able to get the lion’s share by taking control of the private operations of BNPP,” the Pamalakaya leader said

Hicap said Cojuangco is the controversial businessman behind the re-commissioning of the controversial plant because his son—Pangasinan Rep. Cojuangco is the principal sponsor of House Bill 4631 that seeks allocation of $ 1 billion for the revival of the BNPP.

“We will not subscribe to any idea that the son is doing it for a crusade. That’s baloney. Danding is Danding and knowing his history, he will get what he wants and his son is a representation of his mindset and interest over the revival of BNPP,” he added.

Pamalakaya added that the re-commissioning of BNPP as enshrined in HB 4631 is part of the long-running political accommodation between the Arroyo clique and the Cojuangco camp since 2001. According to the Pamalakaya leader, the revival of the BNPP is the latest exchange deal between the two camps.

The fisherfolk group noted that HB 4631 is aggressively supported by Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, also the chair of the House Committee on Energy.

Pamalakaya said the BNPP revival and the possible takeover of Cojuangco of the controversial nuke plant in the near future was presided by the sale of Petron shares to San Miguel Corporation, and by the previous talks between Malacañang and Cojuangco on the disposal and sharing of the P 130-billion coconut levy fund.

The nuclear plant in Morong, Bataan- the current object of outrage by members of the scientific community, ordinary people and anti-corruption watchdogs all over the Philippines was started in 1975 at an estimated cost of $ 600 million.

The plant was completed in 1984 at a cost of $ 2.3 billion, its price bloated by the cronies of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos to ensure fat kickbacks for his group and for the ruling presidency at that time.

According to Philippine debt statistics, the Filipino taxpayers had been paying $ 300,000 a day on interest alone for the loan sourced from the Westinghouse under the auspices of and guaranteed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

It said the debt was not fully paid until 2007, and by then, the Manila government had shelled out a total of P 64.7 B, a third of the interest payments alone. And for all the billions taken out of the Filipino people’s pockets, the country has yet to enjoy a single watt of electricity.

Pamalakaya echoed the statements raised by the science group Agham and the Network Opposed to BNPP Revival (No to BNPP Revival) that the risks in getting the Bataan nuclear power plant online would outweigh the 620 megawatts of electricity it could generate.

Pamalakaya said the projected shortage in 2012 of 3,000 megawatts of electricity can be addressed by building geothermal, hydropower and natural gas, wind and solar power plants even without the operation of the nuke plant in Bataan. It said unused geothermal plants across the country could still generate 750 megawatts of electricity, which are free from grave risks and cheaper sources of power for the 90 million Filipinos. #

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