MANILA – The national government has allocated up to PHP34 billion next year for right-of-way (ROW) payments as the Duterte administration lays the groundwork for the sustained construction of large, multiphase public infrastructure projects, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said on Sunday.
“The ROW payments next year will assure the full completion of several ongoing projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program well into the term of the next administration, mostly between 2024 to 2028,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said the PHP34 billion is nearly three times the PHP11.8 billion that the national government is spending for ROW payments this year.
ROW payments are pursuant to Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution, which prohibits the taking of private property by the government for public use without just compensation to the owner, according to Pimentel.
Pimentel is chairperson of the House strategic intelligence committee, which also has jurisdiction over economic intelligence matters.
In the proposed PHP5.024-trillion General Appropriations Act of 2022, Pimentel said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has PHP21.3 billion for ROW acquisition, while the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has PHP12.7 billion for the same purpose.
Pimentel said the DPWH’s ROW payments are meant to pave the way for the construction of new roads, flyovers and bridges, such as the 74-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway Project and the 8.2-kilometer 4th Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Project.
Meanwhile, Pimentel said the bulk of the DOTr’s ROW payments will go to property owners affected by the 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway Project from Calamba, Laguna to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac; the 639-kilometer Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project from Manila to Legazpi City; and the 25-hectare New Cebu International Container Port Project in the Municipality of Consolacion.
ROW expenses are authorized by Republic Act 10752, or An Act Facilitating the Acquisition of ROW Site or Location for National Government Infrastructure Projects.