DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 August) – The national government plans to start the site acquisition for the Chinese government-supported 23.3-kilometer Davao Expressway project worth P24.5 billion next year, City Planning and Development Office head Ivan Cortez said.
“If they will stick to their timetable, they will start the acquisition by next year,” Cortez said in an interview.
He said that the consultations had already started last week with the officials of the 21 barangays that would be affected by the expressway.
The barangays may then schedule consultative meetings with their constituents to inform them along whose properties the project would pass “to ease the worries of those who think that they might be affected but in reality they are not.”
He said the local government had already foreseen that the biggest challenge to the project would be the “the acquisition of road right of way (RROW) and the site acquisition for the interchanges” that will connect the major roads of the city.
The feasibility study of the expressway is almost complete, finalizing the project’s alignment to minimize its impact on the residences and the cost of the RROW and site acquisition.
Those who will be affected will be “be duly compensated,” Cortez assured.
It will be constructed above ground and will be implemented in three phases: first phase will start from Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, Maa, Talomo and Sta. Ana Wharf; second phase, from Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, to Maa, to Talomo and to Panacan; and third phase, from Carlos P. Garcia National Highway, to Maa, to Talomo and to Bangkal.
He added the Department of Finance has yet to firm up with the Chinese government the agreement on the project’s loan package, which will also cover the cost for the RROW and site acquisition.
“The package for the loan of the expressway will include the cost for the acquisition of the sites, affecting those that may be traversed by the expressway,” he said.
He added though that the expressway will be 90% skyway and the rest will be on ground level.
He said the local government saw the need to undertake the expressway project while there is still sufficient space to make its construction feasible because “if you start the expressway later it might not happen” at the rate the property sector is growing.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed 29 bilateral documents with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter’s visit to the country in November 2018, including the implementation agreement of the feasibility study for Davao City Expressway project and the exchange of letters on the Davao River Bridge Project. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)