As the Quezon City Central Business District (QC-CBD) project pushes through, government employees fear possible dislocation.
BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Volume VIII, Number 26, August 3 – 9, 2008
More than 100 employees of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) flocked to the DA Central Office in Quezon City, August 1 to protest the proposed transfer of the DA office to Isabela province (approx. 370 kilometers, north of Manila).
They were joined by members of Anakpawis party-list (Toiling Masses), Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement or KMU), Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Alliance for the Welfare of the Poor or Kadamay).
DA Employees Association (DAEA) President Joven Daculada said that if not for the proposed Quezon City Central Business District (QC-CBD), the land where the current DA office is standing, would not be for sale.
The Office of the Agriculture Secretary alone has 800 employees. If the attached agencies or bureaus are to be included, the DA has 8,000 employees.
The QC-CBD is a pet project not only by the Quezon City government but also by Malacañang.
Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed on May 4, 2007 Executive Order (EO) No. 670 or the Rationalizing and Speeding Up the Development of the East and North Triangles, and the Veterans Memorial Area of Quezon City, as a Well-planned, Integrated and Environmentally Balanced Mixed-use Development Model to give way to the creation of the QC-CBD.
The said E.O. has been amended by E.O. 670-A, on September 11, 2007, expanding the membership of the Commission that is tasked to supervise the implementation of the project.
Vice President Noli de Castro chairs the Urban Triangle Development Commission or the TriDev Commission. De Castro is also the current chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is the Commission’s vice chairperson.
After the creation the TriDev Commission, the World Bank released P3 billion (US$67.737 million) to finance the study of how the 250.6 hectares of land, covering the East and North Triangles and the land owned by the Veterans Memorial Medical Center can be developed.
Although not earlier included in the project, a 90-hectare land owned by the University of the Philippines (UP) is now being developed into a business process outsourcing haven.
Part of the “developing team” are Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Henry Sy Sr., Andrew Tan, Lucio Tan and John Gokongwei Jr., all are known real estate developers and business tycoons.
As an opening salvo, the Ayala Land had already poured $76 million for building its Trinoma Mall in the land used to be owned by the national government and $130 million for the development of the Science and Technology Park in UP.
Affecting all government offices
Ferdinand Gaite, president of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) disclosed that it is not only the DA that will be transferred but also other government offices.
In an interview, Lori Bangalisan, president of the Bureau of Animal Industry Employees Association, said, “We don’t believe that the attached agencies of the DA will not be transferred. Where the mother hen is, the chicks will be.”
Gaite said that the Department of Agrarian Reform may be transferred to Davao and the Golden Acres, a hospice for the elderly being managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be moved to Taguig.
“The government is very much willing to sacrifice the precious service to the Filipino people to expedite the sale of these prime lands at bargain prices, for quick bucks for Arroyo and Quezon City government officials and for the benefit of big businesses,” Gaite said.
Some parts of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, being managed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), are said to be up for sale to give way for the QC-CBD development.
Earlier, Contra-CBD (Concerned Organizations opposed to Transfer, Layoff and Privatization for the Central Business District) was formed by different unions under COURAGE, by the Alliance of Health Workers and the communities affected by the project, to oppose what they call as an “anti-people” project.(Bulatlat.com)