Oppose Ramon Ang’s Parex Project!
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins various sectors in opposing Ramon Ang’s profit-driven Pasig River Expressway (Parex) Project. The Parex Project will further reinforce the rising dominance of big bourgeois comprador Ramon Ang in large public infrastructure projects which promises San Miguel Corporation hundreds of billions of pesos in profit.
The Malacañang-promoted ₱97-billion Parex Project was inaugurated last week. It aims to build a 19-kilometer elevated expressway along the Pasig River. Critics have pointed out how the project will induce the use of more vehicles and exacerbate the perennial traffic in Metro Manila. Many also fear that the Parex Project will damage heritage sites and structures, and further pollute the Pasig River. It is also being criticized for the absence of transparency and the lack of studies to evaluate its impact on the public and the environment.
The Parex Project is set to be approved by Rodrigo Duterte this month. Ang’s rush to get Duterte’s signature is without doubt linked to the upcoming 2022 elections. By awarding the Parex Project to San Miguel, Ang will surely reward Duterte with large amounts of contributions to the tyrant’s electoral war chest.
Over the past years, in exchange for political and material support for the Duterte, Ang has successfully cornered giant public infrastructure projects that promises a return of hundreds of billions of pesos in profit. He was granted government license to start the Aerotropolis Project to build and operate a new airport in Bulacan. Ang also owns and operates the NAIA Expressway, the Skyway Stage 3 and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.
Under the neoliberal policy regime, public conveniences such as roads and bridges, have increasingly lost their public service orientation as these are put under the control of profit-driven big capitalists such as Ramon Ang and other big bourgeois compradors. They are given control over large tracts of public lands and public space to generate profit in the form of pay-for-access expressways and bridges, while public roads are without space to expand and left to deteriorate. People are compelled to pay for the “conveniences” even as they continue to pay taxes to a state that has abandoned all responsibility to provide them with such.
Instead of building railways and other means of mass transportation, public resources and spaces are being wantonly used to construct roads to increase the demand for private vehicles, which will only lead to increased air pollution, road traffic and floods. Residents and workers of Metro Manila and other key cities across the Philippines are caught in the anarchy of profit-driven construction.
The opposition to the Parex Project is ultimately linked to the fundamental demand of the broad masses to put an end to the neoliberal economic policies. These policies have allowed Ramon Ang and his ilk of big bourgeois compradors to make huge sums of profit in connivance with the bureaucrat capitalist who pocket their share from government contracts. In the end, it is the broad masses of the people who are burdened with rising fees and rising taxes.