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Right-of-way issues bug drainage project

By LITO RULONA
Correspondent .

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) made changes in its design for a major drainage construction project to avoid a lawsuit as it implemented part of a flood-control masterplan for the city.

Speaking to councilors and other local officials, DPWH-10 project engineer Leowald Pecore called on city hall to address issues on informal settlers and road right-of-way so that the Department could smoothly implement drainage construction projects in the city.

Engr. Pecore said issues on informal settlers and lot owners have given government engineers headaches in the implementation of drainage construction projects on CM Recto Ave., and in barangays Camaman-an, Lapasan and Carmen.

Pecore said the DPWH has set aside P1.84 billion for drainage projects here. Of this, P680 million or about 37 percent is being spent for the initial stage.

“Kung dili gyud manugot kining mga lot owners nga maigo sila, then we will ask the city government for police powers,” he said.

The problem, he said, should be taken seriously or the DPWH would not be able to move forward and complete projects as planned.

He cited the ongoing construction of a major drainage system in Lapasan that is based on a drainage masterplan prepared for the city by UP Planades.

Based on the original plan, Pecore said, the drainage should be constructed straight from the Agora road and cut across the See property that is being used as a parking lot by Puregold.

Pecore said the original design was “corrected” after the property owner opposed the DPWH plan and threatened to go to court.

“Kung i-push through padulong sa See Hong property, nag-warn na ra ba sila that they would file a case against DPWH and city government. Unya kung ilang ipadayon, delikado ang city council, and Office of the Building Official that issues the permit,” Pecore said.

In the “corrected design,” he said, the DPWH opted for the Limketkai road.

But the plan to divert was also greeted by opposition by the owners of Limketkai center.

Pecore said a report was submitted by the DPWH-10 to its central office.

He said DPWH officials also had an initial meeting with representatives of the Limketkai group. The Limketkais, he said, strongly opposed DPWH’s plan to link the drainage from the Agora to a creek near the McDonald’s area at Limketkai center.

City planning and development officer Isidro Borja said his office has recommended the use of Limketkai road for the drainage construction project, pointing out that the road no longer belongs to the Limketkais.

“The (Limketkai) road is already owned by the city government,” Engr. Borja said.

City administrator Teddy Sabuga-a said the DPWH would need to closely coordinate with the local government as it implements drainage and other projects in the city.

“They failed to connect with us. Kung mo-ingon sila og resettlement, then amo kana. Para mas maklaro, they have to be specific para magbutang kita og timetable… para naa kita’y unified approach,” said Sabuga-a, adding that the aim is to speed up project implementations.

Sabuga-a added: “Ang ingon sa mayor, dili dapat ang siyudad mahimong hindrance. Ang importante ani mao ang tuning.”

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