TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, July 20 (PNA) –- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Monday vowed to settle their obligations for the acquisition of the land used in the construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
Lawyer Estrella Decena-Saldivar, director for legal services of the DPWH, promised to pay the farmers and landowners who are in the picket line at the entrance of TPLEX in Barangay San Manuel here their just compensation in two weeks time.
Saldivar, along with two other lawyers, held a peaceful dialogue with the farmers and landowners who were demanding payment for their land used for the construction of the TPLEX.
”We came here in Tarlac to iron out everything so that the farmers will be paid. The private land properties used for public should be paid as indicated under the law,” she said.
Protesters, numbering about 100, have been picketing since Thursday at the entrance of TPLEX.
“When the government asked us to cooperate for the sake of development we agreed hands down. In fact, even though they will only pay us Php100 per square meters for the agricultural land and Php 535 per square meters for the residential land, we swallowed this as a bitter pill. But we do not know why of all these years we still do not receive payment,” said Fer Guiwa, a resident of San Pascual, Tarlac City.
Hipolito Benzon, a barangay councilman of San Manuel, said they themselves are asking the same question why payment has been delayed.
“The people we dealt with at the DPWH before told us different reasons and we keep on believing them. But, this delay is already too much for us to bear,” Benzon said.
He said they do not have any recourse but to act in order to get the attention of the concerned government agencies.
”We will give Saldivar a chance with what she promised,” he said.
However, the protesters threatened that if payment is not settled within two weeks, they would not hesitate to go back to TPLEX for the second time to paralyze its operations. (PNA)