DUE to the high cost of acquiring land for new roads, the P600-million appropriation for the Cebu Expressway can only cover 1.8 kilometers instead of the original 2.5 kilometers.
The amount was released in two tranches of P300 million each.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 Director Edgar Tabacon said buying land to open new roads, like the implementation of the expressway project, requires a huge sum of money. The project will hug Cebu’s mountain starting in Barangay Pangdan in the City of Naga in the south.
Tabacon said land in Pangdan is valued around P1,500 per square meter. He said they’re already paid some landowners, while other await payment.
Since half of the project cost will go to the road right-of-way acquisition, he said half of the P600-million appropriation will be for the payment of properties. The balance will be for civil works.
He said the right-of-way acquisition might be delayed. Although they have a team of negotiators, they expect to file expropriation proceedings in court against owners who refuse to sell their properties, he said.
The problem is compounded by the fact that only the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) can file an expropriation case in behalf of all national government agencies.
DPWH has no choice but to wait since the OSC has a case backlog, he added.
The Cebu Expressway has a total length of 73 kilometers from the City of Naga to Danao City in the north.
The project is divided into three phases: Phase 1 is from Danao City to Mandaue City; Phase 2 is from Mandaue City to Talisay City passing Cebu City’s mountain barangays; Phase 3 is from Talisay City to Pangdan, City of Naga.
“We chose Phase 3 to be implemented by DPWH through contractors, while Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be offered to either Public-Private Partnership or a foreign loan under the Overseas Development Assistance,” Tabacon said.
“Phase 3 with a length of 17 kilometers is now ongoing in Barangay Pangdan and is being undertaken by QM Construction Corp., including the acquisition of the right-of-way,” Tabacon said.
He said that because the entire Phase 3 has a cost estimate of P4.4 billion and the P600 million has already been released, the remaining P3.8 billion will be equally appropriated in three General Appropriations Acts, or P1.288 billion each, in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
“We want Phase 3 to be completed in the second quarter of 2022 so President Rodrigo Duterte can inaugurate it before his term ends,” Tabacon said. (EOB)