By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it will coordinate with the Quezon City local government following its order to delay the above-ground construction of the MRT-7 Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) station in a bid to “preserve the park’s integrity.”
“We understand that the concern is about the above-ground structure, and that the construction of underground areas may proceed. We will coordinate with the local government unit of Quezon City as soon as possible to discuss and clarify this matter,” DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran told reporters on Wednesday.
“We are certain that at the end of the day, we will be able to strike a balance and obtain a win-win solution,” she added.
Libiran was reacting to the temporary cease and desist order issued by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on the above-ground construction of the MRT-7 QMC station, pending talks with the developer san Miguel Corporation, contractor EEI, and the DOTr.
According to Belmonte, environmentalists and historians pointed out that the station located in QMC, the city’s most famous landmark and a heritage site, was “encroaching on the park’s integrity.”
“We put a temporary stop to the construction of the QMC station because it would affect the landmark’s identity as a national heritage park,” the local executive chief explained.
Belmonte also clarified that the city government is in full support of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, but has grave reservations over the desecration of the famous heritage site, especially that the construction was affecting the surface of the park.
“We want to look for a win-win solution that would protect our open spaces while advancing the welfare of thousands of commuters who will benefit from the mass transport project,” she added.
Apart from the suspension order, Belmonte immediately ordered a review of the project and discovered that it has greatly exceeded the agreed area for construction.
Based on the project’s permit and clearance, the contractor indicated 4,997 square meters as its floor area, but the proposed floor area is more than five times the approved figure.
The city mayor said they already initiated talks with the involved agencies and stakeholders for clarification and guidance on the MRT-7 construction.