'Win-win' solution sought on MRT-7 QC Circle row: transport dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2020 11:01 AM | Updated as of Feb 19 2020 05:07 PM

MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) hopes to "strike a balance" with the local government following a suspension order for an MRT-7 station that allegedly encroached on a Quezon City landmark, an official said Wednesday.

The DOTr is in talks with Quezon City to find a "win-win" solution, Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran told ABS-CBN News, after environmentalists and historians flagged the project for exceeding the agreed limit on the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“We will coordinate with the LGU of Quezon City as soon as possible to discuss and clarify this matter. 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.

The underground construction will proceed while the DOTr, the Quezon City government, and private stakeholders, including developer San Miguel Corp, are in talks for a possible solution for the above-ground infrastructure, she said. 

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday ordered the suspension of the above-ground construction of the MRT-7 Quezon Memorial Circle Station. 

The project “greatly exceeded” the agreed construction area, Belmonte said. The local government has initiated talks with developer San Miguel Corp, its contractor, the National Housing Authority and other stakeholders, she said.

San Miguel, meanwhile, said that while it considered Belmonte's order as a setback, it would try to stick to the construction timetable "and at the same time take into account the mayor’s concerns."

"This includes revisions to the design,” said SMC president Ramon Ang in a statement.

Ang said that currently, most of the work at the Quezon Memorial Circle is still underground, and no major above-ground structure has been built.

As of February 2020, the MRT-7 project was over 50 percent complete, San Miguel said.

The railway is composed of 14 stations and aims to cut travel time from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to just 35 minutes. 

It is expected to serve 850,000 commuters once operational, SMC said. 

San Miguel shares were down 1.93 percent at the end of Wednesday's trading.