No to Napocor plant

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No to Napocor plant

Posted:3:33 AM (Manila Time) | Jan. 08, 2003
By Letters to the editor

MY home village, Patria, in the town of Pandan in Antique province in the Visayan island of Panay, is facing the New Year with trepidation and hopelessness. The once quiet and peaceful barrio has become the focus of turmoil and disharmony among the people and the local government officials in the municipality of Pandan.

The cause of our controversy is National Power Corp. (Napocor), which wants to build a diesel power plant in our barrio. The residents of Patria are against it. They have signed and submitted a petition to the local government protesting the power plant. They have participated in protest rallies along with other townspeople. They have put up streamers all over Patria that say “No to Napocor.” We, the natives of Patria currently residing in Austria, have written to the local government in Pandan and signed a petition opposing the power plant.

I am fully aware of the ill effects of a diesel power plant on living things and on the environment. As a concerned citizen and a native of Patria, I am appalled at the apathy we have received from the local government officials regarding our objections. We have been ignored. We have been reduced to nothingness. We feel that we have no voice at all in the governance of our lives, have been stripped of our rights to our life and property. As is often the case, we are once again forced to think that the villagers don’t count at all except during elections.

When I visited my hometown Patria last April, I was excited that I was a part of a historical and momentous occasion because President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrived in Pandan during its town fiesta, the first time a President set foot on Pandan soil. I was among the thousands of people who witnessed and heard the President proclaim northwest Panay
Peninsula as a natural park and a “protected area.” My pride and joy were magnified because Patria, my beloved barrio, was within that “protected area” zone.

It is ironic that despite the President’s proclamation, Napocor wants tobuild its diesel power plant in Patria. It is heart-rending to think that our local government officials do not seem to appreciate the value of the President’s proclamation, because, instead of upholding it, they are allowing the “protected area” to meet its doom. They seem to have fallen prey to the glitter of false gold.

Never in my life had I imagined that I would be writing a letter to someone outside my family and friends. But because of what is happening in Patria and the threat of what is to become of my beloved barrio, family, relatives and friends if Napocor succeeds in building its diesel power plant in their midst, I cannot just stand by and watch their imminent destruction. I

I hope that by writing this we may be able to get the help and support we need to save my barrio and its people.

LEONA ALCANTARA NOCKER, St. Veit/Pg., Austria (via e-mail)
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