Palafox: I did not sign a contract with SMC for PAREx
Renowned architect and urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox on Monday distanced himself from the controversial Pasig River Expressway (PAREx) of the conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), saying it has yet to review plans for the mega infrastructure project.
Palafox made the comments nearly a week after being appointed by SMC Chairman Ramon S. Ang as a potential consultant for the 19.4-kilometer toll road that would rise along the banks of the river. the Pasig river.
The 95 billion peso project, which had a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, has alarmed conservation and conservationists and even staff at Palafox’s eponymous company, Palafox Associates, one of the the country’s most respected green planners.
Palafox said he had not signed any contracts to become a project consultant, explaining that he was approached by Ang last May to “introduce green architectural and urban elements” to PAREx, whose detailed engineering studies were still in progress. Classes.
“I don’t know why there is so much toxic anger against me. I did not sign any contract. I told them, let me see the plans, ”he told the Inquirer on Monday, referring to his talks with SMC.
In fact, Palafox said he was prepared to drop the talks “if it violates my principles.”
“This is why I am stepping away from projects, if there is corruption or if it violates the environment,” he added.
He also said the criticisms leveled at him and his company were unfair and that critics should seek answers from planners and engineers at SMC and government agencies such as the Ministry of Public Works and Highways, the Ministry of Transportation. , the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and local authorities. governments whose municipalities straddle the Pasig River.
Asked about opposition to the project within Palafox Associates, he said some staff were against the project, but not all or most of them.
Palafox said he is a systems thinker, along with many of his staff, who looks at issues holistically.
Still, he admitted to having “mixed feelings” about the project.
“I don’t approve of it with my limited knowledge of the project. I haven’t seen the plans, designs and feasibility studies, ”he said, adding that it had taken him two weeks to a month to review the PAREx proposal.
Palafox, who in the past had spoken at length about the need to restore the Pasig River Historic Site as a crucial waterway in Metro Manila, said his perspective had not changed.
But he was also a firm believer in establishing a strong east-west link given the worsening congestion in Metro Manila.
He said one of his previous proposals was to establish a ferry system to connect towns and communities along Lake Laguna, the Pasig River, the San Juan River, the Marikina River and the Manila Bay.
Palafox said he also admires Ang’s vision and philanthropy in cleaning up the Pasig River and nearby waterways.
“We have 180 polluted rivers among more than 400 rivers. Ramon Ang is like the lonely ranger who cleans the Pasig River and the Tullahan River, ”he said. —Miguel R. Camus INQ
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