ANGELES CITY – The multisectoral advocacy group Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) is calling for a review of the law creating the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) or Republic Act (RA) 7227.
RA 7227 is an “act accelerating the conversion of military reservations into other productive uses, creating the bases conversion and development authority for this purpose, providing funds therefor and for other purposes”
PGKM chair Ruperto Cruz said here on Wednesday that RA 7227 seems to have lost its spirit. He said it is time to review the law to determine if it is still beneficial to the people or it has degenerated and has become detrimental to progress.
Cruz said under the BCDA law, there should be “parallel development” with the contiguous communities surrounding the former base lands.
“Instead of the development of the areas around the former bases as intended in (RA) 7227, the contrary appears to be the norm in the implementation,” Cruz said.
He cited as one “grave instance” the case of Porac, Pampanga deprived of its “rightful share” from the five percent gross income earned (GIE) by the Clark Development Corp. from the Clark freeport locators.
It can be recalled that only last December, at the media forum “Balitaan” organized by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. in cooperation with CDC at the Bale Balita, Porac Mayor Jaime “Jing” V. Capil said Porac has not received any share on the GIE since the law was enacted.
Cruz said that is but a “manifestation of the indifference, if not arrogance, with which the implementors have twisted RA 7227.”
He lamented that the cold shoulder policy of the BCDA as in the case of the realignment of the Subic-Cark Railway Project (SCRP) runs contrary to the spirit of the law.
Cruz said it has been numerous times that the PGKM is asking for five good reasons why the SCRP is realigned. But as of the moment, the BCDA has yet to respond.
Sec. 4 (b) of RA 7227 states that: “ To adopt, prepare and implement a comprehensive and detailed development plan embodying a list of projects including but not limited to those provided in the Legislative-Executive Based Council (LEBC) framework plan for the sound and balanced conversion of the Clark and Subic military reservations and their extensions consistent with ecological and environmental standards, in other productive uses to promote the economic and social development of Central Luzon in particular and the country in general.”
The indifference of the BCDA has rendered the rural development plans of local government units, businessmen, land owners and developers discombobulated and caused the marginalization of farmers.
“Now, the BCDA development plans in the area have become anti- development and anti-progress because they ran roughshod on the already laid out plans and even onstream projects of the stakeholders,” Cruz said.
“Where is the parallel development?” Cruz asked. “At least three provinces (Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales) are affected by the SCRP realignment,” he said.
“They are pushing for a multi-billion project (SCRP) that is not acceptable to the people,” he said. “Instead, why don’t they build the railway project from Laoag, Ilocos Norte to Clark and help the famers, flower growers and vegetable growers. A railway project from Subic to Clark which is realigned is redundant and waste of money,” Cruz said.