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Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. SBMA Won’t Be Judge of Hanjin Project’s Legality – Senator Pimentel
SBMA Won’t Be Judge of Hanjin Project’s Legality – Senator Pimentel PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Thursday, 10 April 2008 15:41

Subic Bay Freeport is not a republic unto itself, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administration should not sound as if our laws do not apply to them.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Nene” Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) issued this warning today in reaction to SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza’s statements that the SBMA and South Korean construction company Hanjin will not back down from constructing two high-rise condominiums within the free port's protected forest area.

“I admire Administrator Arreza’s tenacity in defending the project. But he should remember that among others, he may be responsible for possible violations of the law over the project,” he said.

Senator Pimentel said Arreza sounded like the project must be allowed to be completed just because it's already in an advanced state of completion.

 

Atty. Adrian Sison has filed a criminal complaint against SBMA's Administrator Armand Arreza for violating the consumer code, and law on anti-graft, as he did not respond positively to the request of the Department of Trade to inspect again inside the Hanjin facility as to whether Hanjin's importation of cement conforms to Philippine standards. Atty. Sison wants Mr. Arreza to do his job. The Ombudsman has ordered that Mr. Arreza file his counter-affidavits on April 7, 2008. However, Mr. Arreza has obtained an extension for him to file his reply on or before April 14, 2007.Editor's Note: To read more of Atty. Adrian Sison’s campaign against corruption, please go to his websites at www.adrian.i.ph and www.adrian2020.wordpress.com

 
“Don't tell me we will hack off several floors from this building,” Administrator Arreza was quoted as saying.

To which Senator Pimentel replied: “If need be, in the bigger interest of protecting the environment and the rights of the indigenous people who face displacement because of the project, the project itself could be scuttled.”

Mr. Pimentel said a Senate investigation should bring to light whether the construction was really legal as claimed by SBMA and Hanjin.

“But as I've said, not everything that is legal is right,” said Senator Pimentel.

Senator Pimentel says that the SBMA's “cockiness” on the issue is due to Malacañang's support for Hanjin's projects in the country. He says President Arroyo issued Executive Order 701 on Jan. 22, 2008, directing all heads of departments, bureaus, offices and public agencies to support the investment projects of Hanjin.
The senator from Mindanao said that if the project is within a protected forest area, it should be aborted because it sends a bad message that the housing needs of investors take priority over the need to protect our remaining forests.

Senator Pimentel surmised that the SBMA's “cockiness” on the issue may have been due to Malacañang's support for Hanjin's projects in the country.

He cited Executive Order 701 issued on Jan. 22, 2008, directing all heads of departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the government to support the investment projects of Hanjin.

Mr. Pimentel said he will support a Senate inquiry over the status of our remaining forests, including the Subic Bay protected area. # # #



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Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2008 02:55
 

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