ANGELES CITY – The multisectoral advocacy group Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) is calling on the Department of the Transportation (DOTr) to stop threatening farmers in the realignment of the Subic-Clark Railway Project (SCRP).
On Wednesday, PGKM chair Ruperto Cruz said he has reliable information that the DOTr is threatening farmers with “expropriation” especially those who are opposing the realignment of the project.
Cruz also said that “sadly, I have been proven right when I said that the DOTr should be careful in tunnelling mountains because last Tuesday, Mt. Pinatubo was recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of having a weak eruption and emitting smoke.”
He has warned earlier that the mountains that will be tunneled by the realignment might contain magma underneath that might explode as in the case of the Philippine National Oil Company that conducted geothermal drilling on Mt. Pinatubo prior to is major eruption in 1991.
The realignment of the SCRP will also pass though subdivisions and prime properties in areas already destined for development and will hike its cost substantially due to tunneling of numerous mountains along its path which Cruz has strongly warned against.
Cruz said the original alignment of the SCRO has already been accepted by urban planners and developers which is the present alignment of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
Cruz said the original alignment will not even burden the government with right-of-way cost and no tunneling will be made greatly minimizing the cost of the project.
“Why the realignment? We have been asking the DOTr to give us five good reasons for their realignment but up to now they have yet to give us any reason,” said Cruz.
In March, the increasing number of volcanic earthquakes prompted Phivolcs to raise Mt. Pinatubo’s alert status, according to Director Renato Solidum, Jr.
Cruz also said the SCRP could become a white elephant because as f the moment, the SCTEX is serving its purpose well connecting Subic and Clark with 40 minutes or less than an hour travel time.
“Why is there a need for a redundant cargo train costing over P50 billion?” Cruz asked. “It is a train to smuggling,” he added.
“It will be better if the billions will instead be used for a mix-used train system from Ilocos Norte to Clark. It is even a better option in the post pandemic era,” Cruz said.