From Megaproject to White Elephant: Lessons from the Philippines's Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

Ronald U. Mendoza, Ateneo School of Government
Donald Jay M. Bertulfo, Ateneo de Manila University
Jerome Patrick D. Cruz, Ateneo de Manila University


Drawing from recent literature on white elephant projects, this article examines the case of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP)—the paradigmatic example of a white elephant project in the Philippines. The BNPP megaproject had massive implications for the country's fiscal standing and long-term economic prospects, offering lessons for future projects of this size and significance. By revisiting the BNPP's problematic history as well as the continuing infrastructure governance challenges in the post-Marcos period, this study outlines the repercussions of such dynamics for the Philippine government's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, the most ambitious since the Marcos era.