Palace ready to cooperate with Senate on infra probe

Published November 5, 2018, 8:22 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Genalyn Kabiling

The Duterte administration is prepared to cooperate with a planned Senate inquiry into two massive infrastructure projects to attest these construction plans are in order.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, expressed hope the inquiry proposed by Senator Leila de Lima would be conducted in aid of legislation and will not be part of any political grandstanding to discredit President Duterte.

De Lima earlier filed Senate Resolution 927 calling for an inquiry on the administration’s Build-Build-Build projects, particularly the construction of the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road Project and the North-South Commuter Railway Project. The infrastructure projects might reportedly lead to the demolition of several communities that will displace thousands of families in Metro Manila.

“We expect our relevant heads to attend the hearing, if and when they are called as resource persons, not only as a courtesy to a co-equal branch of the government but also to inform the public that these projects are definitely in order,” Panelo said in a statement.

“We only hope that this inquiry initiated by the lady senator is truly in aid of legislation and not for political granstanding purposes only, as she has the habit of doing,” he added.

With the start of the election season, Panelo was wary about any attempt of the President’s political opponents to attack his leadership.

“Election season has arrived and with the President’s ratings remaining high, the political opposition’s recourse is to score political brownie points by foisting demolition and relocation, both gut issues on the part of the urban poor, to attack the President,” he said.

Panelo nonetheless defended that the government’s infrastructure projects were above board amid an imminent congressional probe. He noted that the impact of the two projects on the affected communities has been taken into consideration.

“Feasibility studies have been conducted, including the general impact on the economy and the living conditions of affected residents, prior to the approval of the construction of the these projects as standard procedure,” he said

“Hence, we are certain that agencies of the government involved have taken the concerns raised in consideration and will continue to coordinate and work hand in hand to protect each and every interest subject of these concerns,” he added.