NEWS RELEASE, May 16, 2012 - The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today called on President Aquino to stop the $ 1.6 billion Metro Railway Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) project of San Miguel Group, chaired by his uncle Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., linking North Edsa to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
The KMP issued the statement after reports said that DMCI Holdings announced that the Marubeni-DMCI consortium—an unincorporated joint venture between itself and Japanese trading giant Marubeni Corp.—had signed the contract for the MRT-7 project of proponent San Miguel Group.
“DMCI Holdings did not disclose complete and accurate material information that the MRT-7 project is pestered by controversies. That the planned intermodal depot in Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte Bulacan would evict farmers and grab more than 300 hectares of lands,” says KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella.
“They did not disclose that this more than a billion-dollar project is tainted with conflict of interest on the part of transportation secretary Mar Roxas himself due to his family, the Araneta clan’s illegal claim over the lands,” Marbella added.
The MRT-7’s commercial and residential component will be led by Roxas’ family who owns the Araneta Properties and real estate magnate Henry Sy’s SM Land while the construction and operation of the MRT-7 will be led by the Universal LRT Corporation, a corporation controlled by San Miguel Holdings owned by President Aquino’s uncle, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.
“We challenge President Aquino’s to stop the MRT-7 project as this will only benefit his uncle and Secretary Roxas’ family while the Filipino people will be the ones to shoulder the heavy debts attached to this project,” says Marbella pointing out that “$320 million of the project’s total cost would come in the form of equity, while $900 million to $1 billion will come from borrowings.”
Marbella warned that farmers will hold President Aquino equally liable to the displacement and injustice to farmers and the community that will be brought by the MRT-7 project.
For her part, Sandigan Samahang Magsasaka (Sasamag) chair Thelma Cartoneros said “the MRT-7’s intermodal depot and residential-commercial components will be built over our lands being grabbed by the Aranetas.”
“Roxas’ family, the Araneta clan, will be the ones to benefit from the MRT-7 project as this would increase the value of the lands they are grabbing from us,” she said.
Cartoneros said that “the more than 300-hectare agricultural land in Tungkong Mangga was covered by the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in 1998.”
“MRT-7 is another testament that CARP is a toothless agrarian law. It cannot defend our rights to the lands,” she said. #