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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Coastal road stalled by road right-of-way issues

THE coastal road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Northern Mindanao will be completed in 2018 if road right-of-way (RROW) issues are resolved within the year, a public works official said.

DPWH spokesperson Vinah Maghinay said to date, there are six RROW issues that the project is facing, the biggest of which is on a property in Barangay Gusa owned by Barangay 33 chairman Conrad Lim.

The coastal road project is a 12.77 kilometer stretch of road from villages Gusa to Puntod in the eastern section and Barangays Kauswagan to Igpit in the western side of Cagayan de Oro City.

The coastal road project, which began construction in 2008, has been ongoing intermittently for 9 years now.

Maghinay said that the Igpit-Kauswagan part is already passable while construction in some parts of the Gusa stretch has been suspended indefinitely because Lim's property is in the middle of the road project.

She said they tried to negotiate with Lim but the latter refused to cooperate, prompting DPWH officials to endorse the matter to the Solicitor General for expropriation.

Lim could not be reached for comment.

“We are still waiting for the reply of SolGen (Solicitor General) so in the meantime, we really can't proceed with the work,” she said.

According to DPWH records, the government has already spent and utilized P3,649,109 of the P4 billion estimated cost of the project.

Maghinay said the remaining balance for the project is now only at P393 million.

The project is already 93 percent complete, citing that of the 12.77 kilometer measurement of the project, 11.87 kilometer is already done.

If all RROW issues will be addressed immediately, Maghinay said the project will be finished in early 2018.

“Dili man gud nato hawak ang time or kadugayon sa processes sa pag-expropriate, wala pay labot ang negotiations ug assessment and evaluation sa RROW property claims, so madugay gyud (We can't rush the duration of the processes, the negotiations, assessments, and evaluation of the RROW prperty claims),” she said.

Aside from Lim's property, there are also other six potential properties that will be affected by the project and will be likewise have to be subjected for expropriation.

Another problem, Maghinay said, is the lack of relocation sites for residents affected by the project noting that the local government has been weak in responding to the problem.

But its office understands that the City Government has still to address the city's housing backlog over the years, Maghinay added.

City Shelter and Housing Department Consultant Ermin Pimentel said the city has a backlog of over 34,000 housing units including residents affected by government projects.

The City Government has been pressuring the DPWH to finish the coastal roads, as this is seen as one of the solutions to address the traffic problems of the city.

Roads and Traffic Administration Chief Jose Edgardo Uy said the city needs more road networks and coastal roads to be used as diversion routes for vehicles.

He said the coastal road could lessen the volume of vehicles in the highways as motorists would have more choices on the road to take.

City Investment and Promotion Office Head Eileen San Juan said new road networks would allow the free-flow of goods and services to and from the city proper, villages, and even neighboring towns and cities in the region.
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