DOTr wants Cebu City to regulate development along BRT route

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio October 11,2019 - 04:37 PM

The projected Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system for Cebu City
(Source DOTC)

CEBU CITY, Philippines–The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is asking the Cebu City government to stop any construction or development within the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route as they prepare the final design of the project.

In a letter dated September 11, 2019, DOTr Officer-in-charge for Road Transport and Infrastructure, Undersecretary Mark de Leon, wrote to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, asking the city to pass an executive ordinance that would prohibit any further development along the BRT route, nor issue permits for applicants of such.

These would include building, construction, development, and business permits.

This is so that the construction of the BRT route will not be hampered.

Labella said that he will have to talk to DOTr regarding their request because the city does not have the final BRT route yet, and the specific types of developments that DOTr would like to stop along the BRT route.

“I’ll first talk to them and I have to secure the route,” Labella said in a phone conference with reporters on Friday, October 11, 2019.

But the mayor said the city will do what it can to hasten the BRT project that is expected to span from South Road Properties to the IT Park in Barangay Apas.

“Yes I will do it (issue an executive order), to see to it that the BRT route will be fully accomplished,” said Labella


However, this executive order may take time as the Cebu City Legal Office said the Memorandum of Agreement between the city government with the DOTr, which grants the city government the possession of Right of Way (ROW), may not be sufficient grounds for the city to “exercise police powers to regulate the issuance of permits.”

Lawyer Rey Gealon, the city legal officer, said the police power of the mayor is extensive and can include any matters, including health, safety, peace and order, morals, comforts, convenience of the community, and the granting for the release of permits.

Yet, Gealon said it must be noted that under the Local Government Code, the city may grant or refuse the release of permits, and revoke them if they violate a law, ordinance, or the “conditions upon it was granted.”

Since there is no specific law or ordinance prohibiting the construction or development in the BRT route, the mayor cannot use the BRT route as a reason to refuse granting a permit.

With this, the City Legal Office urges the mayor to seek the help of the Cebu City Council to draft an ordinance to prohibit development along the BRT route.

“It is recommended that this request be referred to the proper committee of the Sangguniang Panglungsod for the drafting of the appropriate ordinance,” said Gealon.

Gealon said that an ordinance that regulates the developments along the BRT route will allow the city to regulate the release of permits for establishments in the area, and only then can the city’s chief executive issue an executive order implementing the ordinance. /bmjo

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TAGS: BRT, Cebu City, construction, DOTr, regulate, Route, traffic

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