Sab­o­tag­ing an air­port project

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By FLORO MERCENE

CON­GRESS­MAN Rolando An­daya Jr., of the first dis­trict of Ca­marines Sur vo­cif­er­ously op­posed the Naga Air­port mod­ern­iza­tion in Pili mu­nic­i­pal­ity, a De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) project, un­der Pres­i­dent Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” pro­gram.

Why does An­daya wants to sab­o­tage the air­port mod­ern­iza­tion when he is one of the pro-ad­min­is­tra­tion party’s stal­warts in Bi­colan­dia? The project would reap nu­mer­ous eco­nomic ben­e­fits for his home province of CamSur by en­tic­ing more tourists to come.

This should be An­daya’s pri­or­ity as PDP-La­ban leader and CamSur leg­is­la­tor.

An­daya’s body­guards and Pili Mayor To­mas Bon­ga­lonta Jr., stormed the air­port con­struc­tion site, driv­ing away Sagip Ka­likasan Task Force (SKTF) last April 18. The task force trooped to the Pili Mu­nic­i­pal Po­lice Sta­tion to re­port An­daya’s vi­o­lent acts.

An­daya fol­lowed the SKTF to the Po­lice Sta­tion and be­came en­raged that Con­gress­man LRay Vil­la­fuerte was there. Tele­vi­sion footage showed An­daya chal­leng­ing some­one to a fight, be­yond the cam­era range, which turned out to be Vil­la­fuerte.

Why did An­daya stop the work­ers of CamSur, out­side of his ju­ris­dic­tion since he rep­re­sents the first dis­trict?

Why did Mayor Bon­ga­lonta ac­com­pany An­daya and ap­par­ently en­cour­age the con­gress­man’s act? An­daya has been telling CamSur res­i­dents that he is be­ing eyed by Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo as her gu­ber­na­to­rial bet in 2019.

Camsur has been over­see­ing the Naga air­port project based on a 2016 Me­moran­dum of Agree­ment (MOA), with the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr). The lat­ter has com­mit­ted P402 mil­lion for the project, in­clud­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of af­fected res­i­dents’ lots. Camsur is to iden­tify the af­fected par­ties and to su­per­vise the pur­chase of their lots with just com­pen­sa­tion, in­clud­ing their re­set­tle­ment.

“The air­port de­vel­op­ment is among the pri­or­ity projects of the na­tional gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing the re-ori­en­ta­tion of Naga Air­port to serve the Metro Naga and Ca­marines Sur,” the MOA stated.

Un­der­sec­re­tary Marvel Clave­cilla, pres­i­den­tial ad­viser on Bi­col af­fairs, de­fended the project and crit­i­cized lo­cal politi­cians for us­ing the farmer’s ex­pro­pri­ated lots to ad­vance their own po­lit­i­cal agenda.

“They should not hin­der or protest the project. This is for the ben­e­fit of all,” Clave­cilla said, adding that the pro­test­ers are mis­in­formed or mis­led by peo­ple with evil mo­tives.

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