Pangasinan folk vow to block TPLEx over unpaid lands
DAGUPAN CITY — Some 100 residents of three eastern Pangasinan towns, whose properties were affected by the construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), have threatened to block a portion of the road due to nonpayment of their lands.
They said they had asked Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to expedite the payment but were still waiting for an answer.
“We wrote Secretary Villar about our concern on Jan. 4, telling him that if no action is done about the issue, we have no recourse but to block the TPLEx portion in Laoac, Binalonan and Pozorrubio towns,” said Celine Gordon, spokesperson for the group.
The letter was sent through Alex Bote, director of Public-Private Partnership Service, and addressed to the Department of Public Works and Highways, Presidential Action Center and Presidential Management Staff.
The landowners said they did not also receive a reply from the concerned government agencies.
Aside from not receiving payments for their lands, none of them had been given a relocation site yet, Gordon said.
Some of them had to stay with relatives as they lost their houses and farmlands to the TPLEx construction, she said.
Bote had written Private Infra Development Corp., the operator of TPLEx, asking it to provide him with a copy of the parcellary plan and cost estimates for right of way.
“It is sad that the TPLEx is already being used and collecting toll fees but the affected residents have not been paid yet,” Gordon said.
The TPLEx exit in Pozorrubio town was opened in December 2017.
Gordon’s property at Barangay Batakil in Pozorrubio, which is a 10-hectare fruit farm, would have been traversed by TPLEx.
But it was spared after she asked former President Benigno Aquino III to reroute the expressway.
“But I could not leave the other landowners. I help them the best way I can,” she said. —Yolanda Sotelo
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.