Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BCDA official wants Japanese executive recalled

By Allan Macatuno - Inquirer

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—An official of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) is pushing for the immediate recall of a Japanese contractor of the P21-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway project.

Antonio Rex Chan, BCDA vice president for operations, said he is set to ask the Obayashi Corp. headquarters in Japan to recall Kazuhico Chabayashi, the project manager in charge of the Bataan segment of the expressway project.

The provincial government of Bataan had declared Chabayashi persona non grata for his alleged refusal to comply with instructions of the provincial government leading to the collection of local taxes on the hauling of filling materials extracted from several quarry sites there.

Chan said the move to recall Chabayashi would “ease the ongoing tensions” between the Japanese contractor and provincial officials of Bataan.

He said the Japanese Embassy in Manila was “agitated and disturbed” by the misunderstanding between Bataan government officials and the Japanese executive.

The embassy requested the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to help resolve the issue among Philippine government agencies in charge of the project, particularly the BCDA and the Bataan provincial government.

The Neda has asked BCDA to address the embassy’s concern with regard to the issue and has asked its officials led by retired Gen. Narciso Abaya to immediately act on the matter.

In their letter to the Neda, embassy officials raised their concerns about the Bataan officials’ drastic move against Chabayashi, Chan said.

He quoted the embassy officials as saying that “Chabayashi did not commit a criminal act nor acted prejudicial to warrant such a declaration” of persona non grata.

In a letter to the Bataan provincial government, Chabayashi denied all the accusations against him.

Chan, however, noted that Chabayashi’s recall would not in any way hamper the work schedules of the road project. “No one is indispensable as far as the project is concerned,” Chan said.

Bataan officials were divided on the issue as the municipal mayors of Dinalupihan and Hermosa expressed misgivings over the resolution against Chabayashi.


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