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Danding son’s plan to sue seen to delay TPLEx

/ 12:12 AM January 30, 2015

BAGUIO CITY—A former lawmaker from Pangasinan province is preparing a lawsuit to stop the last stage of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) in order to prevent the government from building through properties in Sison town in Pangasinan, Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan said on Thursday.

Cosalan, chair of the House committee on public works, said former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco informed him about a plan to file an injunction during a Jan. 28 meeting which he set to resolve their differences over the expressway.

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“This would delay the expressway which President Aquino, [Cojuangco’s] cousin, wants completed before the end of his term in 2016,” Cosalan said.

Cojuangco had asked the government to follow a new route that would move the TPLEx to less populated areas in the borders of Sison and San Fabian towns to avoid farmlands that are in the way of the project’s original alignment before it proceeds to the TPLEx exit in Rosario town in La Union.

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Cosalan said his province has expressed objections to Cojuangco’s proposal because it would move the exit away from access roads to Baguio City by at least 5 kilometers at the expense of tourists, businessmen and truckers who ship vegetables grown in the provinces of Benguet and Mt. Province to Metro Manila daily.

In Pangasinan, Cojuangco confirmed he is preparing a lawsuit but he declined to provide details, including the grounds he would use to stop the project.

Informed that Pangasinan property owners intend to block the final stage of the TPLEx construction, Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Jan. 26 said a rerouting of the expressway was practical “to avoid delaying the project.”

Domogan’s position has become a concern for Cordillera lawmakers and officials who prefer the original TPLEx design, Cosalan said, including the Benguet provincial board which expressed its position through a Jan. 12 resolution backing the original TPLEx exit in Saitan village in Rosario.

There are three proposed TPLEx realignments on the table, two of which were offered by Cojuangco, documents from the Cordillera Regional Development Council showed.

But a Jan. 19 resolution, passed by the Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC), said all three proposed realignments “will be disadvantageous to the riding public of the projected 7,000 vehicles that will ply Section 3 daily since the increase in length will result in higher toll fees.”

According to a project brief, Cojuangco’s key proposal is the shortest of three proposed realignments, but it would extend the expressway by 1.48 km and move the exit 4.8 km from the original area in the approved TPLEx design.

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Pursuing changes and a project redesign now would stall work until the government, and its concessionaire, Private Infra Development Corp., a consortium controlled by San Miguel Corp., amends its environmental compliance certificate and its traffic study, according to RPMC documents. Vincent Cabreza with a report from Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Cordillera Regional Development Council, Danding Cojuangco, Mark Cojuangco, Mauricio Domogan, Ronald Cosalan, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, TPLEx
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