By BEN BALCE
THE Department of Public Works and Highways spent nothing to make businessman and Barangay 33 chairman Conrad Lim yield in connection with a dispute over a foreshore in Lapasan that delayed the completion of a major coastal road project.
“Mr. Lim did not ask for any compensation,” said Vinah Maghinay, DPWH regional office spokesperson, said yesterday.
Maghinay said no money was involved in the negotiations between Lim and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
Lim’s claim on the foreshore which was subjected to a reclamation project, and other roadight-of-way issues caused the delay of the completion of the construction of the four-lane road, a project started years ago.
A lawyer, James Judith, earlier warned the DPWH against causing the payment of any amount to Lim for the reclamation area, pointing out that foreshores are public domain and cannot be privately owned. He said he would sue anyone who facilitates the release of public funds as payment for the disputed property.
Maghinay said she was unaware of the details of the negotiation that resulted in Lim signing a “permit to enter” after a meeting.
Maghinay said the “permit to enter” was an agreement that allowed DPWH representatives to enter the disputed property in order to do their work and ensure the completion of the coastal road project.
“We are very glad and thankful to Secretary Villar because, finally, Mr. Lim voluntarily signed the permit to enter,” reads a statement by DPWH regional director Virgilio Eduarte sent by Maghinay.
According to Maghinay, the August 2017 permit to enter was signed by Lim, and it was witnessed by Eduarte and Senior Undersecretary Rafael Yabut.
Lim, she said, had requested that the demolition be done not later than Aug. 25.
Meanwhile, Maghinay said the Gusa-Agora section would be opened this month based on information from project engineer Leowald Pecore.
“We have no specific date yet but we are doing the best that we can to achieve the target, hopefully, if no other issues will be encountered,” said Maghinay.
The 12.77-kilometer would serve as a bypass road starting from Gusa in the eastern side all the way to the western side in Igpit, Opol in Misamis Oriental, thus connecting six barangays in the city and two barangays in Opol town in Misamis Oriental.
Maghinay said that once the entire project is completed, it would help decongest vehicular traffic, and support trade and commerce in the region.