Cong. Mark Cojuangco Initiates Nuclear Energy Talk to Address Power Crisis in Occidental Mindoro

Pangasinan 2nd District Representative Mark Cojuangco, an advocate for nuclear energy and recipient of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Distinguished Public Service Award, recently conducted public consultation at San Jose, Occidental Mindoro to open the conversation on Nuclear Energy as a potential solution to the long-standing power crisis in the province.

As part of the project of the Special Committee on Nuclear Energy by the House of Representatives, the consultation focused on the decade-long energy crisis that Occidental Mindoro is facing, hindering the province’s economic growth. It also aimed to address misconceptions surrounding nuclear energy and underscore its benefits.

District Representative of Occidental Mindoro, Lone District, Hon. Leody “Odie” F. Tarriela, highlighted that the province’s energy situation has significantly impeded the growth of local industries, preventing them from reaching their full potential. This challenge is reflected in the province’s persistently high average poverty rate, standing at 20 percent or more, which is among the highest not only in MIMAROPA but also in the entire country.

“While the LGU enacted reforms to support key industries to alleviate poverty, the power situation has continued to hinder these efforts,” said Tarriela.

For Cojuangco, this situation highlights even more the importance of having nuclear energy as part of the country’s energy mix, as it is clean, cheap, and reliable—one that can be a catalyst for change.

“It is now the time that we realize that we should be in control of the power and energy we use, not the other way around. If we continue tolerating this dire situation, there will be no room for progress. With nuclear energy, the chance for development will be for all,” said Cojuangco.

According to Mindoro’s electric cooperative, their total electricity demand in 2023 was 151 million kwh. Given the increasing demand, even sourcing electricity from the Luzon grid is not enough to sustain this.

Cojuangco also discussed the reliability of nuclear energy, emphasizing how this source can stand on its own without needing any backup, unlike renewable energy, which still requires coal as a backup power source. He also highlighted that nuclear energy is a cleaner alternative as it does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, making it a viable solution to address climate change in the country. He also emphasized that once development commences, safety will be the number one priority.

“All these benefits are understated. The potential of nuclear energy extends far beyond providing a reliable power source; it is a catalyst for economic transformation. By embracing nuclear energy, we not only address Occidental Mindoro’s immediate power crisis but pave the way for sustainable development, economic prosperity, and a brighter future for the province. Through informed discussions and collaborative efforts, we can unlock the true potential of Nuclear Energy and secure a lasting solution for Occidental Mindoro’s energy challenges,” Cojuangco concluded.

The public consultation was attended by LGU officials and the citizens of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. Cojuangco is now eyeing to visit more provinces like Isabela, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Zamboanga Del Sur and Saranggani.