Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NGOs, religious groups doubt Palafox claims

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Enlightened by a visit to the site of the controversial $120-million Ocean 9 hotel-casino project, several socio-civic groups are now having serious doubts about the allegations made by an urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is planning to destroy 300 trees just to put through with the plan.

“All the allegations of Palafox will have to be assessed,” Fr. June Vic Diolata, executive vice secretary of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, said. “We hope we could see a dialogue between the two parties.”

The site visit was organized by the AMRSP and was joined by some 100 representatives from the Haribon Foundation, Kapatiran, Zambales Earth Savers, and students from De La Salle University, Adamson University, Assumption Academy in Bulacan, and Columbian College in Olongapo City.

Palafox was absent during the site visit.

Diolata stressed that the visit was very helpful in providing information that would counter the “serious” accusations made by Palafox.

“The site enabled everyone who participated here to come up with an objective opinion,” Diolata added.

Arreza, meanwhile, assured the visitors that he is amenable to a dialogue with Palafox.

“That was what we have been asking Palafox ever since, instead of his propagating malicious ideas against SBMA,” Arreza said.

“I can face him right now if only he has had the courage to come here,” he added. Arreza laughed off claims by Palafox that some trees were poisoned to remove the obstacles hampering the project.

“He might be referring to some narra trees, which naturally shed leaves in this season, making them appear lifeless” Arreza said.


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