Work on the Pasig River Expressway may have yet to officially start, but the ambitious project by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) continues to be hounded by critics. After setting the record straight regarding the Palafox issue last week, SMC boss Ramon S. Ang is once again facing a different kind of concern.
According to several groups that are against the project, the elevated expressway will affect Intramuros and other historical heritage sites along the PAREX's alignment. But according to RSA, the planned expressway takes into full consideration the presence of historical sites along its alignment.
“We’re a free country, and we respect everyone’s right to voice their opposition. In fact, after setting the record straight on some issues, we’ve largely let the critics do all the talking. We listen to valid opinions and points, but we just can’t let outright lies pass,” mentioned Ang.
An illustration of the supposed alignment of PAREX recently made rounds in social media. It showed that PAREX will run alongside Intramuros which will directly affect both it and the historical sites present there. The image apparently came from PAREX when it was presented to the media.
Ang, however, said that the image is false as the original alignment of PAREX is on the other side of Intramuros – therefore not affecting the famous walled city.
“False. The image did not come from us. For the record, per the basic alignment developed in consultation with, and approved by the government, PAREX will not run on the Intramuros side, but on the other side, along Binondo. Very early in the process, common sense dictated we couldn’t place the alignment alongside Intramuros. Like many who oppose the project, we are also Filipinos who value our heritage sites, especially Intramuros, where we helped in the restoration of the Manila Cathedral a few years back,” said Ang.
RSA added that by placing the alignment on the other side, they can avoid any significant impact on Intramuros. Moreover, PAREX can also showcase the heritage sites to users, including tourists as it will become more accessible to more Filipinos thanks to the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
“Right now, what we have is a basic alignment, developed with, and approved by the government. And while this basic alignment already avoids Intramuros, it is by no means final. Other areas that people will have issues with, can still be adjusted, based on inputs from government and stakeholders during the detailed engineering design stage,” stressed Ang.
But what about Arroceros Forest Park which critics have also cited as an area of concern due to PAREX? According to RSA, the section that will run alongside the area can be remedied via multiple engineering options that include raising or lowering the expressway or moving it all together.
“The bottom line is, we are committed to do this right, and nothing will get done without full approval of the government. In the coming weeks, we will present visuals of what this infrastructure will look like and we assure you it will be adaptive, inclusive, and ecologically resilient benefitting not just a few, but all of us,” added Ang.
With RSA making it clear that PAREX will in no way affect Intramuros and other historical heritage sites, do you think the project will help alleviate traffic and bring convenience to motorists and travelers once it's complete? Tell us what you think.