By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated August 24, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate Blue Ribbon committee is considering conducting an investigation into the alleged sudden titling of lands along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) for irregularities.
Sen. Richard Gordon, committee chairman, said the panel might look into the issue because the sudden issuance of titles for what used to be idle lands along both sides of the new highway might hinder the development plans in the area, such as the creation of economic zones there to decongest Manila.
“There are reports that the pieces of property have been acquired by influential people already. There were no residents there before but after the highway was built, some people had reportedly bought properties and had them titled. The Blue Ribbon could look into that,” Gordon said.
“What will happen is that the value of land will appreciate. The investors can no longer come in because land is already expensive. We want to evade that, we should work on the development first by coming out with a master plan and saying, there will be universities, businesses, economic zones and the local governments can participate, etc,” he added.
Gordon filed Senate Bill No. 143 aimed at strengthening and expanding the powers of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Clark Development Corp. This will allow the SBMA and the CDC to develop other special economic zones in Luzon to optimize the utilization of the three airports in Subic, Clark and Manila; two seaports in Subic and Manila and one connecting highway and railway in Luzon.
During the hearing of the committee on government corporations and public enterprises Wednesday, the senator stressed that the government was tasked to promote entrepreneurship and create job opportunities through full and efficient use of its resources, such as infrastructures.
“We do not build infrastructure and do nothing afterwards. We must not forget that the very purpose of infrastructure is to provide development, provide employment for the benefit of the people,” he said.
In line with this, Gordon created a technical working group composed of all the stakeholders, which would create a master plan and a land use plan for the development of the area.
“What we’d like to do is to polish the master plan right away and try to put this bill out in the next two weeks on the floor,” he said.