Expropriation starts for proposed Samal Island-Davao City bridge landing site
DAVAO CITY — The government has started the expropriation proceedings of part of a coastal land in Barangay Limao, Samal Island, where the landing point of the Samal Island-Davao City bridge is proposed to be located.
Presiding Judge Gemma Betonio of the Regional Trial Court Branch 4 in Panabo City issued the writ of possession allowing the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to take possession of part of the property owned by Jesus R. Lucas Jr., where the proposed landing site would be built.
The P19.3-billion bridge project will be funded by China.
The writ delivered to property owners at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, allows the DPWH to “take possession, control and disposition of the subject lot,” a portion of the 5,700-square-meter area.
The property is part of the stretch of beaches owned by the Rodriguez and Lucas clan on Samal Island.
Lawyer Mars Rongo, legal counsel of the Lucas family, confirmed that the court sheriffs delivered the writ of possession to the Lucas property.
“The family respects the writs since they were issued by the court, but they want to ensure that the implementation will be confined to the affected portions of the property only,” Rongo said in a message to the Inquirer.
Environment groups earlier opposed the construction of the bridge’s landing site in the area, saying it could damage the coral reefs and marine life that had sustained the livelihood of the island’s fisherfolk for years.
Myla Santos, director of the Ecoteneo, the ecology advocacy of the Ateneo de Davao University and co-secretariat of the Save Samal Reefs Alliance, voiced her concerns over the damage that the five-year bridge construction could bring to Paradise Reef, a thriving community of corals and marine life underwater, just a few meters from where the proposed landing site would be built.
The Rodriguez-Lucas family, who owns the stretch of beachfront in the area, had earlier offered another property as an alternative landing site, but DPWH spokesperson Dean Ortiz said in an earlier interview that the DPWH’s unified project management office, which has jurisdiction over the bridge project, chose the site near the Lucas-owned Costa Marina Resort because it offered the shortest and most economical distance from Davao City.
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