Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, May 15, 2006

Clearing operations in Subic peaceful

Editor's Note: Published on page A16 of the May 15, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
THIS REFERS TO THE NEWS REPORT headlined “Violence mars demolition at Subic Shipyard Project” by Allan Macatuno of the PDI Central Luzon Desk. (PDI, 5/1/06)

Contrary to reports of violence, residents of Sitio Agusuhin, the future site of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) shipbuilding facility, accepted the check payments for their relocation, and the clearing of the area was hassle-free. Top SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) officials even took turns in visiting the place to ensure that the clearing operations would proceed smoothly. Also, the residents have expressed satisfaction over the additional 100 checks that have been released as part of the second wave of payments.

Two residents of Sitio Agusuhin—Armida Salceda, 65, and Mary Joy Fernandez, 8—were sick during the relocation. They were immediately brought by medics to the SBMA dispensary. Reports about people having been hurt during the clearing operations are baseless rumors meant to sow trouble and disrupt the Hanjin groundbreaking ceremonies.

Of the 370 families affected by the project, a total of 297 families have received compensation. They are now going through the relocation phase. The affected families have been offered the choice of two possible relocation sites: the Bataan Techno Park or Subic town. Both sites are within three kilometers of Agusuhin and are strategically close enough to the Hanjin site should they be employed there.

Government representatives have been working closely with the residents to ensure a smooth transfer to their new homes. In fact, their relocation was rescheduled for this summer for the sake of the schoolchildren. A new schoolhouse is now being built at the relocation site and should be finished in time for the opening of schools this coming June. Other public facilities, including a church, will also be built. For these, Hanjin has handed a donation of P2.7 million to officials of the SBMA and the town of Subic.

According to Pat Nebres, president of the Agusuhin Neighborhood Association, most of the families are pleased with the way the relocation is being conducted by Hanjin and government authorities. She said if there are problems, these are minor ones, and they will properly be resolved in due time.

The construction of the Hanjin facility has already started on a 230-hectare lot inside the Subic port. The establishment of this facility alone would create at least 30,000 direct and indirect job opportunities. It is a pity that there is little appreciation of the concerted efforts of the government and the private sector to improve the economy and living conditions of the people, and opportunists would rather put obstacles to progress.

—ARMIE C. LLAMAS, MPA, manager, Public/Media Relations Office,
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Subic Bay Freeport Zone

"I witnessed the actual clearing operation in Sitio Agusuhin and it was not peaceful at all. It was attended by soldiers who stirred fear among the residents who told me that aside from the two people whom I reported to have been hurt, there were others who were injured during the forced demolition. They also told me they never intended to disrupt the construction of the shipyard. They were fighting for just compensation and a proper relocation site. "

—ALLAN MACATUNO, correspondent, PDI Central Luzon Desk
= = = =
Naroon po ako mismo nang maganap ang demolisyon, nakita ko kung paanong sinakal at kinaladkad ng mga SWAT palabas ng bahay ang mga residente. Si Ginang Salcedo ay nasa loob pa ng bahay ng gibain ito ng mga goons ni Magsaysay kaya po siya inatake sa puso at naging dahilan ng trauma sa kanyang apong si Mary Joy. Alam po ito ni Vice Gov Lacbain na naroroon nang maganap ang demolisyon.
Reynaldo Samonte
President, SAMANRA Samahan ng Malaya at Nagkakaisang Residente ng Agusuhin


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