Metro Manila subway construction progress at 5.6%; right of way a challenge –DOTr

The construction progress of the Metro Manila Subway project is so far at a single-digit rate as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) admitted challenges in securing right-of-way acquisition of properties and assets affected by the project’s alignment.

At the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said the subway project’s “construction is only 5.6%.”

“From Valenzuela to North Ave., four stations. Doon pa lang may aksyon (that’s where construction has begun),” Chavez said.

As to the other segment of the project, the DOTr official said that clearing operations and relocation of utilities are ongoing.

In particular, he said that the clearing operations are being conducted at the Quezon Avenue to East Avenue section of the project, while relocation of utilities are ongoing at the Anonas to Katipunan segment.

Meanwhile, the procurement of the contractor for the Kalayaan to Bonifacio Global City is being conducted, while the Lawton to Senate section is “about to be procured.”

The subway’s alignment going to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 is targeted to be awarded to a winning contractor in the first quarter of 2024, according to Chavez.

The entire subway will run for 33 kilometers from Valenzuela to Bicutan, covering 17 stations.

It is expected to benefit over 500,000 commuters.

While construction progress is only less than 6% as of the moment, Chavez said the overall progress rate of the project is now at 33.3% considering all of the components of the projects such as procurement of contraction, design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction.

The DOTr official admitted that the agency is having difficulties as far as securing right-of-way is concerned.

“Ang hirap natin is acquisition of right of way. Tatlo right of way issues… relocation of IFs (informal settlers), relocation of utilities, land acquisition,” Chavez.

(Our challenge is the acquisition of right of way. There are three right of way issues…)

The DOTr official said that several homeowners at an exclusive subdivision in Quezon City are expressing concern as less than 50 houses are covered by the subway’s alignment.

“Ang worry nila baka mauga… Ang ginawa namin ipinakita namin sa ilang stakeholders doon na kapag dinaanan ka ng riles, mas tumatatag ‘yung pundasyon ng bahay mo, sapagkat number one, na-rule out ‘yung sinkhole, and ‘yung tunnel mismo, na-se-strengthen niya ‘yung lupa,” Chavez said.

(Their worry is that [their foundation] will be shaken. What we did is to show some stakeholders there that if railways are built in an area, the foundation of your house will become more stable. This is because, number one, the sinkhole is ruled out. And [second], the tunnel strengthens the ground.)

The DOTr official said the agency is considering filing petitions for expropriation.

“Ang gagawin namin, expropriation. ‘Pag binigay mo ang notice of taking… in the notice of taking the property, owners are given 15 days to submit proof of ownership, titulo ng lupa, tax declaration, valid ID, among others. Pagka hindi binigay sa ‘min, we offer to buy,” Chavez said.

(What we will do is expropriation. When we give the notice of taking…in the notice of taking the property, owners are given 15 days to submit proof of ownership, land title, tax declaration, valid ID, among others. If these documents are not given to us, we offer to buy.)

“Ang pakiusap lang namin na tanggapin na natin ang katotohanan na ‘yung alignment na ‘to ay ‘di na puwede baguhin… ‘Di naman namin puwede ganyanin, sapagkat hindi naman namin puwede laliman ng husto…,” he said.

(Our appeal to affected residents and property owners is to accept the truth that this alignment is something we cannot change. We cannot change it because we cannot go deeper in drilling.) –KG, GMA Integrated News

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