by Harley F. Palangchao
Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he supports the plan to redesign the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway blueprint when some Cordillera officials are opposed to it.
Domogan said he is in favor if TPLEX will not traverse an existing highway, where expansion is impossible because of the presence of houses, establishments, and farms.
A week ago, two Cordillera legislators requested their local counterparts to pass resolutions supporting the original TPLEX plan because it will cut travel time from Baguio to Manila and vice versa.
The request was made after former Pangasinan representative Mark Cojuangco got the support of local officials in reviving his earlier request for the government to redesign the TPLEX even if it will add seven to 10 kilometers more.
Cojuangco, in his Jan. 20 letter to Domogan, rebuffed the claims of those opposing his plan, saying the current blueprint is defective since the concerns of communities were not considered by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The former congressman wants that instead of TPLEX traversing Pozorrubio and Sison, Pangasinan, it will pass through the boundary of Sison and San Fabian and would run towards Rosario, La Union, which is the start of the gateway to the Cordillera via Marcos Highway or Kennon Road.
But Cojuangco’s proposal was denied during the 15th Congress and was not endorsed by the National Economic Development Authority and DPWH, which drew the plan.
Earlier, Reps. Ronald Cosalan of Benguet and Nicasio Aliping Jr. of Baguio led the opposition to Cojuangco’s revived proposal.
Cosalan said the proposal would be disadvantageous to the Cordillera and nearby Ilocos Sur because the exit will be more or less 10 kilometers away from Rosario.
Based on the original plan, the 88-kilometer TPLEX will exit in Rosario, which is proximate to Marcos Highway and Kennon Road, two major gateways to the Cordillera.