Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Irate workers rap contractors, BCDA over delayed wages

The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway project may suffer delay as workers in the project filed a suit against the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and its contractors for alleged non-payment and underpayment of their wages.

In two separate suits filed with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Region 3, several workers of William Tan Construction claimed that the company has not paid their wages since December.

Named respondents were the BCDA, Obayashi Corp., and William Tan Construction.

Enrico Lainez, lawyer for the complainants, said that the malpractices of the contractor should not be allowed to jeopardize the priority project of the administration.

"After the efforts of various government agencies to put together a project that will jumpstart the economic development in the area, it is unfortunate that unscrupulous contractors should endanger its completion because of their failure to pay what is due the workers," Lainez noted.

He said some workers have raised the wisdom of farming out or subcontacting to companies whose capitalization, as shown by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records, is grossly disproportionate to the value of the multibillion project.

The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, a four-lane 94-km highway connecting the two former US bases, is a priority project of the Arroyo administration.

It will run from Subic Bay in Zambales all the way to the 6,400-hectare Hacienta Luisita in Tarlac.

This expressway will serve as the major artery uniting the provinces of Central Luzon into a single economic entity, pooling its various resources and transforming the region into an international transshipment center.

This integrated developmental program is expected to create a competitive environment for Philippine business, attract investments and develop infrastructure and services that will generate sustained economic activity in Region 3.

Principal funding for the R20 billion project is provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Only Japanese lead contractors participated in the bidding for the construction. Obayashi Corp. was awarded the bid for the construction of the SubicClark section. Manila Bulletin


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