THE national government has allocated up to P34 billion for right-of-way (ROW) payments under the proposed 2022 national budget, a senior lawmaker said on Sunday.

In a statement, House Committee on Strategic Intelligence Chairperson and Surigao del Sur (2nd District) Rep. Johnny Ty Pimentel said the P34 billion is nearly three times the P11.8-billion ROW spending this year “as the Duterte administration lays the groundwork for the sustained construction of large and multiphase public infrastructure projects.”

In the proposed P5.024-trillion General Appropriations Act of 2022, Pimentel said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has P21.3 billion for ROW acquisition while the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has P12.7 billion for the same purpose.

The lawmaker said the DPWH’s ROW payments are meant to pave the way for the construction of new roads, flyovers and bridges, such as the 74-kilometer Metro Cebu Expressway Project and the 8.2-kilometer 4th Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Project.

Meanwhile, Pimentel said the bulk of the DOTr’s ROW payments will go to property owners affected by the 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway Project from Calamba, Laguna to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac; the 639-kilometer Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project from Manila to Legazpi City; and the 25-hectare New Cebu International Container Port Project in the Municipality of Consolacion.

He noted that ROW payments are pursuant to Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution, which prohibits the taking of private property by the government for public use without just compensation to the owner.

Also, he said ROW expenses are authorized by Republic Act 10752, or An Act Facilitating the Acquisition of ROW Site or Location for National Government Infrastructure Projects.

“The ROW payments next year will assure the full completion of several ongoing projects under the Build, Build, Build Program well into the term of the next administration, mostly between 2024 to 2028,” Pimentel said.

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