WHAT HAPPENED TO MULTIMILLION-PESO BICOL PROJECTS?

admin   January 17, 2004   Comments Off on WHAT HAPPENED TO MULTIMILLION-PESO BICOL PROJECTS?

g1LEGAZPI CITY – Like vultures feeding on carcasses, some officials may have victimized Bicol residents twice over by benefiting from proceeds of at least two multimillion-peso “development” projects, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.

Worse, Lacson said the government had resorted to blaming typhoons Milenyo and Reming in explaining why residents have yet to feel the benefits of the two projects.

“Pinagkakitaan na naman ito (Someone made a killing out of all this). Residents of Bicol are still suffering from the effects of Milenyo and Reming, yet some officials are said to have pocketed funds for the two projects. It’s like vultures feeding on carcasses,” Lacson said.

He was referring to the P200-million Pantao regional port in the third district of Albay province, and the river-dredging project that was supposed to benefit the entire Bicol region.

Citing information reaching him, Lacson said the Pantao Port, which no less than President Arroyo had inaugurated, has been washed away, while its P50-million access road linking it to the city proper was “pulverized.”

On the other hand, he said the river-dredging project was completed with funding from the Office of the President to protect residents from silting should Mayon Volcano explode.

But he said that when Milenyo and Reming lashed Bicol last year, “hindi naramdaman ng tao ang proyekto (the people did not feel the benefits of the project).”

“What happened to the families who were relocated because of the Pantao Port project? Were they properly resettled?” he added.

Lacson, citing the reports reaching him, also described one of at least two officials who “benefited” from the project as an incumbent lawmaker now seeking reelection. The other, he said, is a former lawmaker who is now a “ranking member” of the Arroyo Cabinet.

He said he got wind of the supposed irregularities during his campaign in Bicol, where he met with local folk who told him about the matter.