Monday, July 26, 2021

Bizman warns of mass actions vs Subic-Clark railway project

A PROMINENT businessman in Angeles City has warned that mass actions will be initiated by their group if the original alignment of the Subic-Clark railway project pushes through.

Ruperto Cruz, leader of the Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) advocacy group, said that hundreds of businessmen, residents and farmers in Pampanga and Central Luzon will be affected by the project.

The railway will cross through numerous farmlands, residential areas, and even properties that are planned to be developed into industrial estates and tourism related businesses, according to Cruz.

The business leader at the same time said the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which handles the right of way and other issues for the project, has no authority over properties outside the former US bases.

Cruz said Republic Act (RA) 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992, is an act accelerating the conversion of military reservations into other productive uses and does not include properties outside the base lands.

"The SCRP is being implemented without any public consultation at all even if its alignment will reportedly encroach on titled properties outside its jurisdiction," he said.

Cruz said the PGKM will mobilize mass actions involving land owners and developers, businessmen, farmers and those whose properties will be affected by the alignment.

The group is also planning to take the issue to the Senate, Cruz said.

“The railway project is just a table survey because it lacks a proper study on how it will impact on the lives and livelihood of the people,” he said.

Cruz said Porac is aspiring to become a city and Makati of Pampanga but this dream of local officials and residents may change into a nightmare because of this railway project.

“The railway is just for freight transport and will be used only for cargo,” Cruz said.

He also questioned the feasibility study of the project saying it is not properly prepared.

“Why insist on the alignment that will affect development in the area? Why did they not consider the present Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) alignment for the railway project?" he added.

Cruz said the multi-billion funds for the Subic Clark railway project should instead be used to construct another cargo and passenger railway Clark to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.


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