NO BAN ON UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION. Tracks of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) under construction near the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The Department of Transportation said the recent suspension order issued by the Quezon City government would only affect above-ground construction and not underground works of the MRT-7. (PNA file photo)
MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified on Tuesday the underground construction for the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) station at the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) is not affected by the cease and desist order issued by the Quezon City government.
In a message, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the temporary order issued by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte concerned only the rail line’s above-ground construction.
“We understand that the concern is about the above-ground structure and that the construction of underground areas may proceed,” Libiran said.
She said the DOTr would discuss the matter immediately with the local government of Quezon City to find a “win-win solution.”
In a statement released on Monday, Belmonte said the temporary suspension order against the construction of the MRT-7 station was issued after historians and environmentalists decried its effects on the national heritage park.
She called for a review of the project after it was found that it exceeded the agreed area for its construction.
“Based on the project’s permit and clearance, the contractor indicated 4,997 square meters as its floor area. However, the proposed floor area is more than five times the approved figure,” Belmonte said.
She added that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the descendants of the late Manuel L. Quezon — the Quezon-Avanceña family — must be given a say on the matter due to its status as a symbol of national heritage.
As of January 15, the DOTr said the construction of the MRT-7 was 50.69 percent complete — civil works of nine out of its 14 stations underway, 108 of its train cars built, and installation of tracks ongoing.
Once operational, the MRT-7 is expected to service 300,000 to 850,000 passengers daily, with room for expansion to accommodate an increase in ridership.
The rail line, connected to the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), MRT-3, and the Metro Manila Subway through the Common Station currently under construction in North Avenue, is expected to be partially operational by 2021. (iam/sovereignph.com/PNA)