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No road-widening projects in Sariaya town proper

By Michelle Zoleta (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 7, 2014 - 12:00am
SARIAYA, Quezon , Philippines There are no road widening projects in the Sariaya town proper, contrary to
apprehensions that ancestral houses would have to give way to such projects, according to the Department of Public
Works and Highways (DPWH).
In a statement this week, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, reacting to the issue, directed field offices to strictly
adhere to the agencys policy of preserving historic sites and structures in all its projects nationwide.

We have to preserve these historic sites and structures for the young generation to learn from our past, Singson

In order to avoid unnecessary delays, revisions, and alterations during the construction period, the preservation of
these historical sites and structures should have been considered during the conduct of feasibility study or planning
phase of the project development, he added.

Pursuant to DPWH Department Order No. 243 dated Nov. 26, 1991 and signed by then secretary Jose de Jesus,
Singson reminded all regional directors, project directors, district engineers and planning engineers to coordinate
closely with the National Historical Institute, the National Museum, and the National Commission on Culture and the
Arts to avoid the unwarranted demolition or destruction of historical sites, monuments or any structure of historical

The issue cropped up when a certain Danny Maffiotee de Luna shared his concern to the Sariaya Heritage and
Historical Society about the supposed road-widening project in the town proper.

De Luna expressed apprehension that ancestral houses in Sariaya such as the Don Natalio Enriquez house; the
Alcaneses, Ismael Baysa and Quejano ancestral houses; the Art Deco Municipio and ABC building might be affected
if the supposed road-widening project is carried out.

DPWH Region 4-A director Huillio Belleza, however, said there is no such project in the town proper, particularly on
General Luna Street.

Road-widening activities, according to Belleza, are instead ongoing before and after the town proper, in Barangays
Sampaloc II and Balubal.

In an interview, Nestor Cleofas, public works district engineer, said the rehabilitation of the Quianuang Bridge along
Maharlika Highway and the road widening are aimed at easing the longtime traffic congestion in the town.

There is no funding for the road widening in the town proper, he said, adding though that if people want to make the
province progressive, there should be some sacrifices.

Im only accountable to the constituents to do my work for further development. The rating of social acceptance of
the road widening was high, he said.

Quezon second district Rep. Vicente Alcala sought understanding from the public on the major infrastructure
changes, which he said are for the better good of the community. With Evelyn Macairan
Bicol Mail

NAGA CITY The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has deferred
its decision to issue a permit to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
regarding the imminent cutting down of 669 trees along the 6.7-km. road widening project at the
Maharlika Highway, from Barangay Mabulo, this city, to Baramgay Palestina in Pili, Camarines

Lawyer Arnel Rodriguez, provincial environment and natural resources officer (Penro), disclosed
he would not endorse a permit to cut down 669 trees until he hears all sides of the issue on
whether or not to allow the cutting of trees.

Rodriguez said he has received and forwarded the endorsement of Naga Citys Environment and
Natural Resources Officer Oscar Orozco which was noted by Mayor John Bongat dated June 11,
2013 to DENR Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales, for the latters final decision on
whether or not to cut down the trees.

I called Director Gonzales to follow up the decision on the permit the DPWH requested but he
told me that he will base his decision on my decision. So, I have to hear first those people who
are opposing the cutting of trees before deciding on the permit, he said.

So far, the Naga City Peoples Council (NCPC), through its chair Ramiro Samar, has expressed
opposition against the cutting of trees because doing so would go against the national greening
program of the Aquino administration which targets to plant 1.5 billion trees until 2016.

Samar pushed for a wider consultation with stakeholders regarding the cutting of trees in order
to find the right solution regarding the proposed cutting down of trees to give way to the
proposed road widening project.

Orozco explained the city government is not against the project but what they wanted is for the
DPWH to be flexible with the project implementation by employing options to preserve the

He said that to avoid cutting the trees, the city government is proposing the transfer of the road-
widening project to the Almeda Highway, a diversion road inside Naga City, with almost the
same road length of the project.

Orozco said the city government is coordinating with DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to offer
alternatives to avoid cutting down mature trees along the highway.

Armando Omolida, one the DENR foresters involved in the inventory of trees, said there are
many trees estimated to be more than 50 years old with estimated total of 42,000 board feet of
According to the technical computation of the DENR a 50-year-old tree generates P1.2 million
worth of oxygen, provides P2.5 million worth of air pollution control, recycles P1.5 million
worth of water, and stops erosion of P1.2 million worth of soil.

Omolida said the total wood that can be recovered from the trees cut along the road widening
project could make for about 2,000 chairs for the Department of Education.

Lucy Castaeda, spokesperson of the DPWH regional office, said the P100-million road
widening project is set to be implemented next year and that continuous consultations with
stakeholders are being conducted.

Castaeda said the DPWH has not been given yet by the DENR a permit to cut down trees.

Rodriguez said should the cutting of trees be approved, his office or the local government unit of
Naga City would be the ones to take custody of felled trees that may be utilized by any
government entity for immediate needs.

Camarines Surs Second District Engr. Gilbert Romero said the government plans to widen the
two-lane Maharlika Highway into four-lane highway as the government enforces its road right of
way limit which is 15 meters, left and right, from the middle of the road.

But Romero said the planned road-widening is still in the preparatory stage wherein private
owners along the highway are consulted and the redesign of the project is still to be finalized.

He said the DPWH, however, has decided to just implement the 12-meter clearing on both sides
of the road for the road-widening project which was to be implemented after the elections.

Aside from the actual expenses in construction, the DPWH will also spend for payments to
private owners whose titled properties will be affected by the road widening project. With report
from Mar Arguelles
DPWH drops road widening plan in Sariaya

By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr. - @inquirerdotnet

Inquirer Southern Luzon / 12:20 AM September 26, 2015

The St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in Sariaya, Quezon

SARIAYA, QuezonIts final. No more road widening project in this heritage town.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) made this clear during a two-hour intense
arbitration hearing it conducted last week between the Department of Public Works and Highways
(DPWH) and protesting residents.

There is no more road widening, lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, NCCA legal consultant, told the Inquirer
after the hearing. She said the DPWH had come up with a revised proposal to construct three loading
and unloading bays.


Wilfredo Racelis, the departments project engineer, maintained that the revised project would not
affect any heritage structure. The excavation will be far to affect the integrity of the foundation of old
houses, he told the assembly.

Angeles urged the more than 30 residents who attended the meeting to study the new project posted
on the municipal hall bulletin board and on the NCCA website. The residents can submit a
counterproposal, she said.
The original road project aims to widen the entire one-kilometer stretch of the main road which
connects to Maharlika Highway as a solution to the worsening traffic problem. But it was met with
strong opposition, particularly from owners of several heritage houses along the route.

Rina Marquez, daughter of the present owner of the iconic Enriquez-Gala heritage house, submitted a
petition to the NCCA asking the agency to step in to help settle the issue and save several heritage
houses from defacement.

On March 18, the NCCA issued a cease-and-desist order to the DPWH project that would damage
portions of the Enriquez-Gala house, municipal hall and plaza, and the St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church

Under the revised road plan, loading and unloading bays will be built in three strategic spots of the main
streetat a portion of the plaza in front of the church and the municipal hall, in the middle section of
the town center, and in the vicinity of the public market.

The plaza and park also host another heritage structure, the Rizal Monument, which was inaugurated on
Rizal Day on Dec. 30, 1924.

Marquezs mother, Lynda, whose mansion lies in front of the plaza, said, Where can you find a plaza
with an unloading and loading station? This is a gross mistake.

The house, designed in 1927 by Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of artist-revolutionary Juan Luna, bears a
marker from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly National Historical

Ysmael Baysa, a finance executive of Jollibee Corp. and owner of another antique house along the main
road, also voiced his opposition to the DPWH project. He insisted that the agency totally abandon the
project because it would not solve the perennial traffic problem in the locality.

Instead, the DPWH should finish construction of alternative road projects, such as the 7.2-km Sariaya
bypass road and the 24.7-km Quezon-Batangas ecotourism road, said Baysa, a Quezon Medalya ng
Karangalan awardee in 2013.

Residents mentioned a third alternative road, the South Luzon tollway extension project from Sto.
Tomas, Batangas province, to Lucena City, which is set to start next year.

One argued that since the road section in front of the market had already been widened, it should serve
as one of the loading and unloading areas for public utility vehicles.

He said the DPWH should construct another bus stop near the cemetery instead of constructing one
inside the town center. Leave the town proper as it is, he said.

The NCCA will hold another mediation meeting next month to find a compromise solution to the
conflict. If there will be no conciliation, we will proceed with the administrative hearing and decide the
case, she said.