By Lorenz Marasigan | BusinessMirror
January 9, 2023
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is willing to deposit the payment for a 450-meter land in Cavite to finish the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange of the P35.7-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax).
Public Works Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Service Director Alex G. Bote said the agency is “willing and able” to deposit the P11-million check to Uneco Land Corp., a private company that owns the land parcel so that the court could issue the writ of possession.
In compliance with Republic Act 10752 or the Road Right of Way Act, he said the P5 million was first deposited to the Court, and they are ready to settle the balance of P11 million.
Under the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular 113-2019, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) should immediately issue a writ of possession within 7 working days upon the deposit to the court of the amount equivalent to the sum of 100 percent of the value of the land based on the current relevant zonal valuation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue issued not more than 3 years prior to the filing of the expropriation complaint.
Uneco is challenging the acquisition of the land and is “demanding P50 million to P60 million,” according to Bote. Initial estimates for the said land parcel, he added, is only P16 million.
“What we are asking is that we are given the chance to deposit the check that we hold and issue and reinstate the power of writ of possession. Once reinstated, it will be served to the Sheriff,” Bote said.
He noted, however, that if the court decides in favor of Uneco, it will follow the legal directive.
“But per our latest estimate, it’s just P16 million. We’re okay to bring this matter to the Court. It should be placed under just compensation. The government will still pay for that if the Court decides that it’s really P60 million.”
Currently, the Silang (Aguinaldo) Interchange is at 64.8 percent completion rate. One critical portion of the expressway lacks a parcel of land roughly 450 meters long which prevents the company from opening another section of the Calax.
This fifth of the eight segments of the 45-kilometer expressway spans 3.9-kilometer, with 2×2 lane expressway from Silang East Interchange to Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite. Upon completion, this will serve more motorists, including the 298,000 residents of Silang, given the reduced traffic situation.
With the right of way (ROW) issues, MPCALA Holdings Inc. (MHI), the builder and operator of the Calax, had to delay the opening of the segment to the first quarter of 2023 instead of end-December 2022.
“We’re still hoping that we can complete. For example, we can settle the issue within the month, definitely February or March of 2023, Aguinaldo [Interchange] will be operational,” Bote noted.
To date, Calax’s operational segment spans 14.24-kilometer with interchanges at Greenfield-Mamplasan, Laguna Technopark, Laguna Boulevard, Santa Rosa-Tagaytay, and Silang East.
Other interchanges of Calax, namely, Open Canal, Governor’s Drive, and Kawit, are targeted to be completed by 2023. Upon completion of the entire public-private partnership project of the DPWH and MHI, it will connect to the Manila-Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite.