MAGANES: Cojuangcos’ advocacies: nuclear plants and reproductive health (RH)

January 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

vir maganes
Although they lost in the election of 2016, Mark Cojuangco who ran as governor of Pangasinan and his wife former 5th District Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco, are continuously pursuing their advocacies – nuclear plants and reproductive health (RH), respectively.
During the incumbency of Mark as 5th District representative in 2010, he batted for the recommissioning of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) which was mothballed  at the height of power crisis in the country. Technically, Mark’s presented his position on the issue with much ease and knowledge considering his expertise on nuclear power plants. He was able to project the benefits of the recommissioning of BNPP that outweighed the perceived destruction that caused fears among the environmentalist groups. However, his position was not well-received by the environmentalists citing cases of nuclear power plants’ fiascos in Chernobyl, Russia and Fukushima, Japan. It was also used as an issue against him during the last election in Pangasinan.
With Duterte’s entry to the presidency, Mark was able to get an ally from the Department of Energy (DoE) that has an open policy on the use of nuclear power plants as an alternative of other sources of energy. Now, Mark is the most sought resource person on nuclear power plants in media fora as well as students’ sponsored fora in universities and colleges in the country. His thesis is, why not use nuclear power that is safer, cleaner and cheaper to use that of fossilized sources like coal and diesel? He is not ,however, debunking the use of “renewable sources of energy” like solar and bio-mass but these have to be tested technically and their cost compared to the cost of the nuclear power plant.
Almost all countries in Europe are already using nuclear power plants as well as in South Korea, USA, China and other progressive countries in the world. Why not the Philippines that is suffering from power outages due to lack of supply of electricity? It is a reality that Philippines is being shunned by would-be investors because of high cost of energy. With Mark’s continuing advocacy and enlightenment of the Filipino people, it is certain that BNPP will be recommissioned and new nuclear power plants will be constructed all over the country.
While I commiserate personally with the views of the environmentalist groups, it is a pity that they could not present as of now effective alternative sources of energy to end the woes of the Filipinos. In like manner, where are these environmentalists when President Duterte opened two new coal-fired power plants in Mindanao and Visayas? Studies showed that coal-fired power plants are more destructive than nuclear power plants. Isn’t it high time to give attention to what Mark are saying about the benefits of nuclear power plants?

On the issue of reproductive health, it is remembered that Kimi was on the frontline when the RH Bill was being passed into law during the 16th Congress. She was one of the prime-movers in advancing the reproductive health issues, explaining them in universities and colleges among students, women’s organizations to the extent of conducting motorcades to elicit awareness among the populace.
Kimi with then Senator Pia Cayetano fought for the passage of the RH Bill amid opposition from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines CBCP). But Kimi was not afraid of the religious orders even if the priests campaigned against her in 2013 elections. She allayed the fears of women on the use of contraceptive pills saying that she could not withstand seeing poor women who cannot access medical attention during their pregnancy and in delivering their babies. She said that RH BIll is one way of showing concern and love to the Filipino women.
Her advocacy paid off when the RH Bill was passed into law in 2014. However, those against it have petitioned the Supreme Court requesting the law to be declared unconstitutional. Since then, the RH Law has taken a backseat. It was not enforced by the government under PNoy. While it was stalled at the Supreme Court, Kimi continued her advocacy by attending to women’s fora and talked not only on RH but also other women’s concerns.
Lately, Kimi was unburdened on the issue of not implementing the RH Law. President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 12 implementing the RH Law on informed choice of women to use contraceptive methods. Duterte called on other agencies like Department of Health (DOH), DSWD, DepEd, etc. to look into the implementation of the Executive Order on RH. His issuance of EO was lauded by opposition groups at the House of Representatives headed by Rep. Edcel Lagman and the United Nations on Population Programs.
Now, even the RH Law was not fully implemented, President Duterte was true to his campaign promise to pursue the implementation of the RH program to suppress poverty among women especially in the remotest areas of the country where contraceptive pills and other methods would be accessible to them. Kimi might be grinning from ear to ear. Her pet Bill and advocacy was after all not futile under the Duterte administration.
Mark and Kimi are two leaders who passionately fight of what they believed in. Their advocacies might not be that popular as others perceived them to be, they pursued them incessantly until positive results are attained. They might be a loss for not having political seats at present, but I am certain that with their unconventional brands of leadership, they will have a comeback in the political scene in Pangasinan.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at

Entry filed under: News.

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