Nothing final on Philippines – Russia nuclear energy deal – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Nothing is final yet on the nuclear energy deal between the Philippines and Russia, Malacañang clarified on Monday after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted the agreement may be unconstitutional after all.
“They are discussing if it is feasible or not. Kumbaga pinag-uusapan pa lang ‘yan. Wala pang sigurado doon (It’s still being discussed. Nothing is certain there yet.),” Duterte’s spokesman and legal counsel Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
The two countries signed a Memorandum of Intent during Duterte’s official visit to Russia last week to explore the possible construction of nuclear power plants in the Philippines.
It was among the 10 business agreements signed with Russia.
But upon his return to the country Sunday afternoon, Duterte said the deal may be against the Constitution.
“The Constitution does not — would not like it. It is prohibited,” Duterte told reporters in his arrival briefing in Davao City.
“That is why I have to talk to the Cabinet. I cannot affirm or deny that because that’s part of the proposals,” he added.
The country’s first and only nuclear power station, the US$2 billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, was built during the term of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the height of the 1973 oil crisis.
It never became operational due to corruption and safety issues.
Secretary Alfonso Cusi, earlier said the administration is mulling to revive the nuclear plant to address the energy shortage and high cost of electricity, with the demand and reserve requirement expected to double at 30,189 megawatts by 2030. /gsg
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