TUPAS BACKS MALONES
‘Rock crusher transfer not easy’
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
RELOCATING the rock crusher plant from Barangay Caigon, Maasin, Iloilo nearer the international airport site in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara area is not as easy as changing one’s home address.
Gov. Niel Tupas said due process should be followed before the rock crusher, which is reportedly owned by the in-laws of his son Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas, is transferred to another area.
Earlier, Rep. Arthur Defensor (3rd district, Iloilo) told Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones and the Sangguniang Bayan to revoke the business permit of the plant and transfer the facility somewhere in Cabatuan or Sta. Barbara.
Defensor ordered the transfer to minimize the number of heavy-duty trucks passing through the Marcos and Tigum Bridges in Cabatuan en route to the airport site.
Government engineers fear the bridges will collapse if trucks continue to traverse the already shaken structures.
Tupas said the owners of the plant also invested money to put up their business in the said town.
“We have to consider that a lot of money was spent to put up the plant, how much more in transferring the facility. Due process must be observed in this matter,” Tupas said.
Instead of moving the facility to another location, the governor suggested for an alternative route from Maasin to the airport site, thus bypassing the Cabatuan bridges.
Aside from the inconvenience on the part of the owners, Tupas said they also have to consider revenues that Maasin will lose if the plant transfers to another location.
“I will talk to the mayors of Cabatuan and Maasin to settle this problem. We are also concerned with the safety of the people but we also have to consider the businessmen’s plight,” Tupas said.
Tupas also said aside from trucks delivering aggregates to the airport site, vehicles loaded with sugarcane are also the main cause of road damage.
Defensor had warned he will not shed a centavo of his pork barrel fund to repair the badly beaten roads and bridges in Cabatuan and Maasin if the rock crusher stays.
Yesterday, personnel from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) headed by assistant regional director Eric Lenard Tabaldo have setup checkpoints at the Tigum and Marcos Bridges.
The checkpoints will monitor trucks that exceed the 20-ton load limit of the bridges. But in the absence of portable weighing scales, which are expected to arrive from Cebu today, LTO personnel will just warn the trucks not to overload.
Tabaldo said they will install the weighing scales when they arrive today.
Aside from regulating the load, trucks will only pass the bridges one at a time.