by MONICA LABOY
Citizens, primarily led by the Alliance of Lopez Avenue Stakeholders (ALAS), have objected to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Road Widening Project at Lopez Avenue, Los Banos.
The project will be covering points from Crossing, LB up to the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Gate.
From the existing gutter, a length of 6 meters will be added, making each side of the road 10 meters, with two lanes of four meters and a two-meter walkway on each side, thus covering a total of 20 meters.
According to Andres Santillana of ALAS, DPWH claims that the road widening project is the solution for traffic. However, ALAS have objected to it.
“Walang due process na nangyare. We received notices as early as October 2015 about the project but the representative of DPWH only gave us two information, the bidding date, which is in October, and the possible start of construction, which is in January 2016,” Santillana stated.
He added that no consultation took place rather, “they were merely summoned and informed about the two aspects”.
“Is this truly the answer to the problem of traffic? First of all, they have no study to show. They have no environmental impact assessment. There was no time and motion study which is required for a traffic control project. They do not have a social preparation component and they did not assess the economic impact of this project,” He added.
Santillana also explained that if one’s establishment will be damaged due to the project, the government will not have any compensation for it, “It is not only the property or the businesses that will be affected but also the quality and the viability of life of the project affected peoples.”
According to him, if one’s property or establishment will be affected by the road widening project, the government will not provide any compensation for it since the road right-of-way (RROW) of Lopez Avenue, according to DPWH was originally 20 meters.
However, he defended that they have their titles and legal documents to support their property ownership.
“We continue to object on the project. Hindi nila pwede galawin ang kinatatayuan naming, iyon lang. Ganun ka-simple iyon. It may come on a later date or an earlier date. It doesn’t matter. Our vigilance would be the same and our position will remain ever stronger,” Santillana concluded.
Furthermore, Janos S. Lapiz, chairman of Barangay Batong Malake, Los Banos also expressed his stand on the project.
Lapiz explained that Lopez Avenue is part of the Mt. Makiling Park Road and that by law, the maintenance and repair of a national road is under the DPWH and not the Local Government Unit (LGU). The DPWH are the ones responsible for the funds, design, and centralization of the project
“We have requested DPWH to postpone the project until the plans are clear but have already passed a Sangguniang Bayan resolution last Monday requesting them to realign the funds for the rehabilitation of drainage systems and sidewalks,” Lapiz said
As stated by Lapiz, the project has an allocated fund of Php24M and that the target start of the road widening is on March 4.
The LGU and the DPWH are still discussing matters with regards to the request of fund diversion. [P]