CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial government has demanded utility companies “illegally” occupying its premium properties along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City to pay rent starting from the date they began using the province-owned lots.
In a report, the Capitol’s official news portal, Sugbo News, said Governor Gwendolyn Garcia met with telecommunication players and representatives of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, to discuss the matter.
“VECO president and chief operating officer Raul Lucero expressed readiness to pay the demanded compensation for the illegal encroachment of their utility boxes and electric lines buried underground on both sidewalks of Osmeña Blvd., beginning at Fuente Circle up to the Capitol Compound area,” read a portion of the report.
According to Visayan Electric, they have 10 utility boxes on both sides of Osmeña Blvd., with underground electric lines having an accumulated length of 1,167.60 meters and occupying a total area of 350.28 square meters.
“Lucero apologized to the governor for the infringement, adding that they believed all along that the lot they were occupying had road-right-of-way, them being portions of sidewalks beside a major thoroughfare in the city,” the report said.
Garcia explained that only 20 meters in width were the original allotment for the questioned portions of Osmeña Blvd.
However, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that constructed the road violated this plan when it added four more meters in width for the road (two meters on each side) and six meters for the sidewalk (3 meters on each side), effectively encroaching on Capitol properties where the utility boxes now stand.
MCWD board decision awaited
For their part, Edgar Donoso, MCWD general manager, said he would await the decision of their board on whether they would pay rent to Capitol or bring the matter to court.
MCWD maintains and operates one well station along the road, a facility the agency has purchased from the old Osmeña Waterworks System.
Representatives of the telecommunication companies Globe and PLDT, claimed they no longer have utility boxes and communication lines along Osmeña Blvd.
They said they relocated these when in 2014, the Cebu City government passed an ordinance ordering utility lines to be buried underground for aesthetic purposes and for public safety and convenience.
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