DOTr: Expropriation of property for rail projects a last resort

DOTr: Expropriation of property for rail projects a last resort

/ 03:38 PM March 07, 2024

DOTr exec says expropriation of private property a last resort

FILE PHOTO: This undated photo shows the ongoing Metro Manila Subway Project Line 9-northbound. On March 7, 2024, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the expropriation of private property will always be the last resort in resolving right-of-way issues involving big-ticket rail projects of the government. Noy Morcoso/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Expropriation of private property will always be the last resort in resolving right-of-way issues involving big-ticket rail projects of the government, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

It also stressed that such a mechanism will only be used if “negotiations with affected property owners face an impasse.”

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In a press conference Thursday, DOTr Undersecretary for Rails Jeremy Regino explained that expropriation of property is not forced occupation since the government would provide just compensation to the owner of the affected property.

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“We have now shortened the negotiation process. If there will be no agreement, we will have to file expropriation proceedings but without prejudice to continue with the negotiations,” Regino said as quoted in a statement released by the DOTr.

READ: DOTr to secure 3rd tranche of funding for Metro Manila Subway Project

He likewise said that even if the government is granted a writ of possession on the expropriated property, this does not mean that the parties cannot continue a successful negotiation.

“We are doing our best to convince property owners, all things considered, that their concerns are already factored in,” Regino added.

Regino visited the site of the P488-billion Metro Manila Subway project on Thursday, where tunnel boring was ongoing.

READ: MRT-7 depot construction starts as courts grant DOTr, SMC right of way

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Based on a policy brief of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department posted on the House of Representatives website, expropriation refers to the government’s acquisition of private land for public use “without the consent of the owner upon payment of just compensation.”

The policy brief, titled “The State of Compulsory Acquisition of Land and Compensation in the Philippines,” also mentioned that expropriation is necessary for the government to develop infrastructure, such as roads and power stations, for economic growth.

In March 2015, the DOTr created the Technical Working Committee for the Acquisition of Sites through Department Order No. 2013-05.

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Eight years later, in November 2023, the DOTr asked the Office of the Solicitor General to address right-of-way issues holding up many government projects in the country.

TAGS: DoTr, right of way, Transport

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