03/05/2020, 09.43
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Manila mulls nuclear power, bishop point to Fukushima and too many risks

To meet energy needs, the government is considering nuclear power. The dossier awaits Duterte's signature. Archbishop Alminaza: nuclear disasters "powerful and painful reminder" of the dangers related to technology. Focusing on renewables as a "cheaper and safer" source requires a green commitment "for the care of our common home".

Manila (AsiaNews / Cbcp) - After the hard confrontations of the past on the fight against drugs and the campaign against extremist groups in Mindanao, there is a risk of a new rift between the Filipino bishops and the government of President Rodrigo Duterte over energy concerns. The governemnt seems to be considering nuclear to meet the needs and fuel the industrial development of the country

The atomic disasters of Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island show that nuclear power "carries risks" which, to put it simply, "is not worth taking". This was stated by Msgr. Gerardo Alminaza, bishop of the diocese of San Carlos, in the province of Negros Occidental, in the west of the archipelago. The prelate, who has long been at the forefront of the fight for clean energy and renewables, stresses that "the three accidents occurred in countries with far more advanced technology, infrastructure and experience than the Philippines".

"[These incidents] are a powerful, though painful reminder of the risks related to nuclear power - says the prelate - to which the Philippines have no need to expose themselves". Msgr. Alminaza stated in response to government proposal to invest in nuclear energy that is awaiting Duterte's approval. 

An executive meeting was held on March 2, in which the Minister of Energy Alfonso Cusi illustrated the nuclear plan for the nation. Commenting on reports, the bishop of San Carlos hopes that the president will not turn his back on his appeal, which calls for the development of renewable energies which represent a "cheaper and safer" source than a possible nuclear "holocaust".

On several public occasions, Duterte criticized members of the Church with violent and often vulgar tones, inviting also to "kill" them because they are "useless". Since his election, bishops and priests have censored some of the government's policies. These included the bloody war on drugs, which caused around 5,000 deaths and the imposition of martial law on Mindanao.

This time Msgr. Alminaza hopes that the response from the head of state will be different and that he will not sign the executive order, strengthening his commitment to "green" and renewable energies. "This - concludes the prelate - would be truly beneficial for our people and a concrete act for the care of our common home"

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