Reroute TPLEX, P-Noy urged
POZORRUBIO– Residents of eight villages of this agricultural town held a rally on Wednesday to protest the original route of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway which they said would traverse agricultural and residential areas, and that they would not consulted about the project.NO TO TPLEX ROUTE. Celine Gordon, a resident of Pozorrubio, says the government failed to consult them on the route of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway.
Geronimo Moulic, 79, a resident of Talogtog, said he and his five siblings would lose six hectares of irrigated riceland as the project would run right smack across the property.
“What would be left of the property which we inherited from our parents, would be 30-50 meters on both sides of the proposed project. My residential property would also be traversed by the overpass, so we would lose that, too,” Moulic said.
Celine Gordon, a resident of barangay Batakil, said the proposed highway would run through the middlle of her family’s ten-hectare mango farm.
“What is illegal about the implementation is there was no consultation with the residents about the project. They only talked with the barangay officials who do not inform us about what decisions were made,” she said.
“Why does the negotiation come first before consultation? That’s illegal. They should review the manuals of DPWH and DENR. They should throw away these manuals if they could not enforce them. We are not against progress but there should be consultation first,” she said.
Gordon requested President Aquino to respect the rights of the landowners and look into the original route that will be passing through thickly populated areas.
“The proposed new route is much better as it will be logical. It will be passing through hilly portions westward without compromising prime agricultural and productive areas. The old route is proximate to the town’s center and will mean loss of agricultural lands and residential areas,” she said.
The proposed new route is in consonance with the proposal of former 5th District Rep. Mark O. Cojuangco.
It will be recalled that Cojuangco’s proposal is to divert TPLEX seven kilometers away from its original exit that will entail additional cost of P1-billion.
A letter-petition, signed by almost 2,000 residents of the affected barangays, asked President Aquino and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson to immediately suspend and stop the implementation of the TPLEX passing on the current proposed alignmennt in Pozorrubio town.
“We believe that the current implementation of the project is founded on illegal grounds. Currently the TPLEX (is) entering our land in flagrant disregard to prevailing law and government procedures and we our being intimidated and our rights are being denied. (Thus), other than legal action, we have no resource other than to submit this petition requesting your immediate intervention in order to correct these illegal acts,” the residents said.
They also wanted the concerned government agencies to “initiate a full and transparent review and assessment of the feasibility and design process of the said project in accordance with the current law and government procedures.”
In a media brief, they said there were no public consultations or public hearings conducted regarding the routes, for environmental impact statement which is a requirement for environmental compliance certificate, for mitigating measures on flood and other local effects.
They also said the contract for the project was already awarded when no land was acquired yet, and that there was no acquisition plan and relocation action plan.
“A geodetic survey was undertaken in December 2009 without knowledge or consent of the (land) owners,” they said.
Jaime Lopez Ibaan, 70, said the original plan would expose the town to flooding, including Poblacion and Cablong, while the flood basin of Palguyod and Bobobon will have increased flooding and would result in loss of prime agricultural lands.
“We are poor. My children are tricycle drivers. We woud lose our small house and property to the TPLEX,” he said. His property would be “eaten” by the project.
The TPLEX would expose large parts of the town to flooding. Water exists to west and the TPLEX would serve as dike with no exit of water, hence more lives will be in danger if the project proceeds,” the residents said.
They added that they are not against the project which they said would bring enormous benefit to Region I and northern Luzon, but they seek to “realign and mitigate their concerns like flooding, loss of agricultural land, conduct transparent and independent review and comparison of more tehcnically and socially acceptable options.
The petition is signed by residents of Talogtog, Poblacion I and II, Cablong, Palguyod, Bobonan, Amagbagan, Laoac and other villages.
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