Sunset view at Rizal Park; Cusi bats for nuclear power

December 13, 2018

Today marks a very special day as the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) launches the newest attraction at Rizal Park.

Named after the famous Manila sunset, the said latest attraction is called, “Sunset View Concert by the Bay.’ It is a brainchild of the hard-working NPDC Executive Director Penelope Belmonte, who will also be leading the launch at 4:30 in the afternoon at the back of Quirino Grandstand between the famous Harbor View Seafood Restaurant and the Manila Ocean Park.

The venue provides a very good spot for sunset viewing which Belmonte made sure will be made even more enjoyable by an accompanying feature of Filipino cultural songs and dances as well as contemporary musical performances.   

Preceding the performances would be the traditional “Lights On” which will take place at 6 p.m.  It is the much awaited simultaneous switching-on of Rizal Park’s Christmas lights display.

The other activities lined up by the NPDC for the holidays are the following: Nine Nights of Christmas Carols and Simbang Gabi from December 15 to 23, the Christmas Day Concert on December 25 and the celebration of Niños Inocentes and Children’s Day on December 28. The usual grand ‘New Year Countdown’ will wrap things up come December 31.

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The Department of Energy (DoE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted Monday the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INRI) Mission as part of the activities of the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO). Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi underscored that in the spirit of technology neutrality, he has decided to reignite the discourse on nuclear power despite its being taboo.  In that event, he also highlighted that the Philippines has ranked first among 125 countries in the Energy Trilemma Index of the World Energy Council in the last four years, with a renewable energy share of 24.6 percent in the country’s generation mix. He, however, expressed concern over the country trailing behind in terms of energy security and energy equity, which are the two other dimensions of the Energy Trilemma. The Philippines placed 70th on energy security and came in at 96th place for energy equity. Thus, the DoE is openly considering the feasibility of introducing nuclear power into the energy mix of the country in the race to provide uninterrupted, secure, reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity throughout the archipelago. This would also improve the country’s over-all Energy Trilemma Index rank, which currently stands at 74th out of 125 countries. At the onset of the Duterte administration, the DoE has adopted a technology neutral approach to allow the unhindered consideration of all options to achieve the energy goals of the Philippines.

The nuclear event thus serves as the country’s status report to the IAEA of progress made relative to the 19 infrastructure issues that need to be addressed before the Philippines is able to embark on a full nuclear energy program. It was attended by IAEA Nuclear Division Director Dohee Han; IAEA Review Team Leader Milko Kovachev; other IAEA personalities and partners from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and members of the NEPIO headed by DoE Undersecretary Donato Marcos.

The country’s initial undertakings on the nuclear energy option with the support of IAEA and PNRI include the establishment of NEPIO in 2016 and the DoE’s submission to the Office of the President of its proposed national position on nuclear energy in April 2018. Cusi assures the public that the government will continue to apply a calculated and scientific approach in evaluating the feasibility of nuclear energy for power generation and ensure that the nuclear policy of the country will be comprehensive and sound, especially in terms of safety. “We need to make the Philippines energy secure and equitable in the midst of ever-growing demand. We need to generate inclusive and sustainable economic development and make the country globally-competitive,” Cusi has said.

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