Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TPLEX mess is tougher than Urdaneta’s Expropriation – Cojuangco

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

At last the Supreme Court just decided on the urgently needed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). I've been interviewing incessantly Senators like Grace Poe, TJ Guingona, Peter Cayetano, Bong Bong Marcos, others by posing to them we need EDCA like crazy at the height of the encroachment of China on our islets and reefs at the Spratlys and the threats she has on us and our honor.

     HOOKED. Former Pangasinan 5th District Congressman Mark O. Cojuangco (extreme left, seated) and Sta. Barbara’s vice mayoralty bet Ruben Jose are hooked reading Mortz Ortigoza’s column “Why the Espinos could not pole-vaultBautista, as they waited for some candidates in the May 9 election. Cojuangco, who runs for the governorship of the more than 2 million populated province barnstorm Barangay Gueguesangen West in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan where rabble rousing discourses ended at dusk.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s headline today said: PH offers 8 bases to U.S: Facilities include Clark, Basa, Lumbia, Magsaysay”.
Col. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
said the  facilities offered to the Americans were Basa Air Base in Pampanga province, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija province, Camp Antonio Bautista and a naval base in Palawan province, Camp Benito Ebuen and the naval base in Cebu province, Clark Air Base in Pampanga and Lumbia air field in Cagayan de Oro.
 Son of a gun, these bases where American Lockheed Martin F-35 Stealth multiple role jets they called also as Lightning II would be launched and would be a game changer (click here to watch the video on my article on game changer) in case those chink eyed interlopers, whose economy now is in a tailspin, started to fire their surface – air- missiles (SAM) at those American Lockheed Martin F-16 Super Falcon jets and  FA-18 Super Hornet jets or the “spy jet” two jet engines’ P-8 Poseidon  or the Philippine Air Force mini version of a multiple jet trainers cum fighter-bomber-reconnaissance F/A-50 Golden Eagle (we just bought from South Korea) making fly-by at the disputed Spratly islets where lately two huge commercial jets of the Chinese had just landed.
A news article I read says: “The Philippines lags behind its neighbours in total international tourism receipts, according to the 2014 Annual Report of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Despite a new high of 4.8 million international tourist arrivals, the country still trailed Malaysia (27.4 million tourist arrivals), Singapore (11.8 million), Indonesia (9.4 million) and Vietnam (7.9 million)”.
My comment:
 The problems in the Philippines, investors for hotels and other tourism related infrastructures like airport, etc are confined to 60% Filipino ownership because the Constitution provides for that xenophobic 60-40 percent arrangement at the expense of the foreigners.  That law discourages  these deep pocketed foreign investors because they are relegated to 40 percent minority control in corporate boards in the country.  These capitalists, who were responsible for the economic leap of Mainland China, Vietnam, Thailand, others are hesitant to pour their monies to develop our tourism industry and lessen the prices or better off the standard of our hotels and airports where they can be constructed on BOT (Build Operate & Transfer) or PPP (Public Private Partnership) basis.

ECONOMIC –TURN - AROUND. Spectators in Barangay Gueguesangen West in Sta. Barbara listen attentively to Pangasinan’s vice gubernatorial candidate Mark Macanlalay who told them how Robinsons Mall, Puregold, and other Top 100 Corporations in the Philippines invested in Calasiao town where he is the mayor. “If you elect me as vice governor and Mark Cojuangco as governor we will exceed what I have done in Calasiao’s economic turned around,” he exhorted. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA 

“They should expand their highway so they would not worry about expropriation someday,” former Pangasinan Congressman Mark O. Cojuangco, a gubernatorial bet, retorted to me when I told him in Sta. Barbara town that Pangasinan could shame Zambales province whose two lanes’ national highway are still made of asphalt.
I cited in my previous column that Zambales officials should emulate how Cojuangco interceded when he was a solon with the power-that-be in Imperial Manila by transforming to world class the pathetic national highway in Urdaneta City.
He said it took him more than a year to convince businessmen and residents on the lands covered by the two additional lanes to acquiesce for the project.
Some were adamant, some procrastinate, some filed cases in court to stall the government,” he said.

For you, what’s the toughest, the expropriation in Urdaneta or the tangle you’re into with the  88.85 kilometres’ TPLEX’s (Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway) contractor who is hell bent slice Sison town at the expense of the farmers there and the traffic bedlam it will create in Rosario town?” I asked.
“The TPLEX,” he said.
He nodded when I asked him if injunction looms just to shake the contractor and the Department of Public Works & Highway on their senses to modify their plan so it cannot exacerbate the plight of the people of his hometown Sison whose lands were already divided by MacArthur Highway, hills, and rivers.
Cojuangco argued that his proposal, that started six years ago when he was a congressman, was for the contractor to avoid the town proper of Sison but instead add a kilometre from Sison to San Fabian town before the express way reach Rosario, La Union.
 “The right of way would also be less because the area is not productive,” he said on the expropriation.
He cited his proposal will be a good investment for the stake holders because it will make the Phase-3 (Rosario to San Fernando, La Union) shorter by five kilometres.
The P23.8bn ($536.4m) TPLEX project is being implemented on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis by Private Infra Dev Corporation (PIDC), and is expected to generate about 12,000 jobs during its construction.
The PIDC consortium, led by San Miguel Corp (SMC), also includes D.M. Consunji, First Balfour, EEI Corporation, C.M. Pancho Construction, R.D. Policarpio & Co., D.M. Wenceslao & Associates, J.V. Angeles Construction, J.E. Manalo & Co., New Kanlaon Construction, and Rockford Development. PIDC is responsible for the design, construction, financing and operation of the expressway.
Di ba sir, sa inyo rin iyong San Miguel Corporation (SMC) that oversees the construction of TPLEX?” I posed
Iyon na nga, e! ” he retorted probably seeing the situation where it is not only SMC but with other countless partners that handled TPLEX project.

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