Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Attack of the clowns

By Conrado R. Banal III - Philippine Daily Inquirer
An architect named Felino A. Palafox Jr. has been making a lot of noise in the media, throwing at the SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) environmental issues such as the cutting of trees at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Getting the heat of course was SBMA head Armand Arreza, whom Palafox claims to have influential backers.

For instance, Palafox claimed at hearings in the House of Representatives that one of Arreza’s kids was asking money from SBMA locators. You know — as in extorting.

Palafox forgot to say, of course, which one of the two kids of Arreza it was, whether the nine-year-old or the 12-year-old.

But then Palafox provided the House with incontrovertible proof to his claims by saying he only heard those things.

Anyway, this is what I have heard about the whole affair. It seems that Palafox has interests in a venture called Moon Bay Resort, in turn owned by a company called Subic Coastal Development Corp. Word has it that Palafox is one of its stockholders.

Now the company was wooing a Korean group to investing in a hotel-casino project at their site in the Subic free port.

Unfortunately for Palafox and company, the Korean company dropped the project, apparently because the site was adjacent to a cemetery.

The Korean group instead chose another site, a two-hectare lot at the free port that nevertheless had fruit trees.

Subsequently, Palafox started to make a big fuss out of the plan of the Korean group to cut down those fruit trees.

Now, the site of the Moon Bay Resort project — some 16.5 hectares of it — at least based on the House hearings, also used to have a lot of trees.

Exactly what happened to them, Palafox was not saying. Maybe he did not have the luck to hear talk about the cutting of those trees.

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