Hundreds Protest Creation of Proposed Biz District, Hit Gov’t Plan to Transfer Offices

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Bulatlat.com
Posted 1:00 p.m., Aug. 21, 2008

QUEZON CITY – Members of the newly formed alliance Concerned Organizations Opposed to Transfer, Layoff and Privatization for the Quezon City Central Business District (Contra-CBD) staged a picket in front of the Department of Agriculture (DA) central office to protest the proposed creation of the Quezon City Central Business District or QC-CBD that, they said, will drive more than 150,000 people out of their homes, cause massive layoffs, and will deprive more people of the services of the public offices that will be affected by the project due to the selling of the lands where those offices are located.

Santiago Dasmariñas, one of the conveners of the Contra-CBD and secretary-general of the militant Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) said that the impending transfer of the DA office to Isabela is just a prelude for the series of transfers of different government offices and the massive selling of public lands to big real estate conglomerates such as the SM Holdings, Inc., JG Summit and the Ayala Land. The transfers of these government offices are intended to give way to the grandiose QC-CBD project initiated by the QC government, Malacañang, World Bank (WB) and by a number of business establishments.

The offices said to be affected by the proposed creation of thebusiness hub will be the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Hospital, Veterans Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Ombudsman, Sugar Regulation Authority, National Food Authority, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, National Power Corporation, Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Irrigation Administration, National Printing Office, National Statistics Office, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Land Transportation Office and Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board.

“The true motive of the QC-CBD is not only to gain huge profits from the selling the lands but also to justify the layoff. What is more saddening it is not only the government employees who will be affected but the families living in the barangays (villages) where the QC-CBD will be built,” said Dasmariñas referring to San Roque, East and West Triangles and the Veterans.

On the other hand, Dasmariñas belies the claim by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap that the DA transfer will mean better services, saying that is not the transfer that will improve the services rendered by the DA but providing the institution with sufficient funds for research and for additional manpower.

“However, we must ensure that these funds will not be used for corruption,” says Dasmariñas.

He also lambasted Yap’s statement that ther will be housing and monetary provisions for the employees of the department, in line with the transfer.

“It is not enough that you provide houses and additional compensation; the inconvenience that the transfer would cause and the amount of money that the national government will spend in transferring the office should be considered,” said Dasmariñas.

Members of the alliance vowed to continue their campaign against what they called a “monstrous project”. (Posted by Bulatlat.com)

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