DOTr: Ban development along BRT route
CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has sought a ban on construction and any further development along the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.
Undersecretary for road transportation and infrastructure Mark Richmund De Leon has requested Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella to issue an executive order to control the construction activities along the BRT route.
De Leon said that the project is now on its final design stage, but they have observed that there are “ongoing constructions and developments along the route.”
“I would like to request assistance in the creation of an Executive Order to prohibit LGUs in allowing any further development or construction, or issue any building construction, development or business permit within the ROW (road-right-of-way) of the BRT corridor, which are contrary to the approved plans and purposes of the project,” reads De Leon’s letter dated September 11, 2019.
He reminded the mayor of the existing Memorandum of Agreement that the city government had entered into with the DOTr on December 28, 2016. Under the MOA, the city also has the responsibility to facilitate the acquisition of lots and improvements needed for the project and resettlement of informal settlers.
“Yes, I will do it if that’s for the BRT, to see to it that the route can be fully accomplished, fully constructed, I will do it,” Labella assured.
However, City Legal Officer Rey Gealon said an ordinance is needed before any ban on construction and development along the BRT route can be done. Gealon said that the MOA between the city government and the DOTr may not be sufficient basis for the issuance of an executive order.
He explained that the power to issue licenses or business permits must always be exercised in accordance with the law and with utmost observance of the rights to due process.
Gealon said there must be a law or ordinance that will outline the conditions and restrictions. Permit applicants should also be given the opportunity of notice and hearing so as to observe the elementary precepts of due process before any application could be denied.
He recommended that De Leon’s request should be referred to the City Council for the drafting of the appropriate ordinance. (FREEMAN)