Mario Fetalino

Addressing ROW issues

June 9, 2024 Mario Fetalino Jr. 159 views

RIGHT of way issues are a very complicated matter.

In infrastructure development, problems on ROW causes delay.

At present, government projects meant to bring progress in the country are suffering delays because of ROW impediments.

And President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has decided what to do with it.

President Marcos recently supported the old process of addressing ROW)issues to fast track the completion of major state infrastructure projects.

The old process was to secure the writ of possession after making a 15 percent initial payment for the property affected by the ROW process.

The matter was discussed by the President with the Private Sector Advisory Council-Infrastructure Sector Group (PSAC-ISG) and other concerned agencies during a meeting in Malacañan Palace.

The Chief Executive admitted ROW dilemmas are affecting the government’s flagship projects.

And so he revealed talking to the Solicitor General, House Speaker and the Senate President about the problem.

He said there’s a house bill that’s going through the process to amend the right-of-way process.

“So, now, what we suggest, ibalik niyo na lang sa dati. After you pay 15 percent, turnover na. Now, if you want to argue about valuation whatever it is then go ahead but the project can already begin. So, they’ve (legislators) agreed to that,” he said.

The President said the executive branch will draft an accompanying bill for the Senate to file when deliberations resume.

The same, he said, will be the basis for the final draft that will come out in Congress.

The government is resorting to the old system, which, he said is reasonable at 15 percent upfront payment before land turnover.

Owners can take any legal action they want if they feel they deserve it, he added.

Meanwhile, Rogelio Singson, a member of the PSAC-ISG, told the President there’s no issue regarding cost as the government is offering market price.

The problem, he said, comes from the actual process.

“As you said, you just need the deposit and then go to the expropriation, let the courts decide how much will be the eventual cost, but the writ of possession has to be issued,” Singson said.

“Because Mr. President once the writ of possession is issued by the court, then the project can already proceed.”

PSAC has recommended for the creation of a dedicated Right-of-Way (ROW) Technical Working Group (TWG) similar to the Inter-Agency Committee for ROW for national railway projects involving critical agencies to streamline the acquisition of ROW for key Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) such as toll roads, airports, and seaports.

Some of the key IFPs of the DPWH and DOTr encountering ROW issues are the Cagayan de Oro Diversion Road Extension (Junction Sayre Highway-Manolo Fortich-Malitbog-Claveria-Eureka, Gingoog City Road); Davao City Bypass Construction Project; Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge; LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project; and EDSA Greenways Project.

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