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DOTr eyes 'win-win' in MRT-7 row

DOTr eyes 'win-win' in MRT-7 row

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is confident there will be a “win-win” solution after the Quezon City government issued a cease and desist order on the construction of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7)’s Quezon Memorial Circle station, an official said yesterday.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said the agency will coordinate as soon as possible with the city government to discuss and clarify the matter. 

“We understand that the concern is about the above-ground structure, and that the construction of underground areas may proceed,” she said.

Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday issued an order suspending the above-ground construction of the station after environmentalists and historians found that the station was encroaching on the park’s integrity.

She said a review of the project revealed that the proposed floor area is more than five times the 4,997 square meters indicated in the project’s permit and clearance.

Belmonte said while the city government fully supports the administration’s Build Build Build program, it has grave reservations about the desecration of the famous heritage site, especially as construction was affecting the surface of the park.

“We are certain that at the end of the day, we will be able to strike a balance and obtain a win-win solution,” Libiran said.

Concession holder San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said yesterday it will cooperate with stakeholders to deliver the project with minimal delays, even with a possible redesign of the station’s above-ground structure, which will be finalized with the DOTr.

“While the order is a setback, we will do everything we can to make sure we keep to the timetable, and at the same time take into account the mayor’s concerns. This includes revisions to the design,” SMC president Ramon Ang said.

Ang said most of the work at the station is still underground, with no major above-ground structure built yet.

The MRT-7 is a P63-billion project that will cut travel time from Manila to Bulacan to about 34 minutes once completed.        

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