Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has ordered a cease-and-desist order on the above-ground construction of the Metro Rail Transit 7 Quezon Memorial Circle station pending talks with developer San Miguel Corp., contractor EEI Corp. and the Transport department.
But the department said Tuesday the underground construction for the MRT 7 station at the Quezon Memorial Circle was not affected by the cease-and-desist order issued by the Quezon City government.
Assistant Transport Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the temporary order issued by 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.
Belmonte reacted to the complaints raised by environmentalists and historians that the station was encroaching on the park’s integrity.
She said the city government was in full support of the national government’s “build build build” program, but she expressed reservations on the desecration of the famous heritage site, especially as the construction was affecting the surface of the park.
“We put a temporary stop to the construction of the Quezon Memorial Circle station because it would affect the landmark’s identity as a national heritage park,” she said.
“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,” Belmonte said.
The Quezon Memorial Circle is the city’s most famous landmark and is a heritage site.
Belmonte immediately directed a review of the project, saying “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.
The proposed floor area is more than five times the approved figure.
“We have initiated talks with the DoTr, contractor EEI, San Miguel Corp., National Housing Authority and other stakeholders for clarification and guidance,” Belmonte said.
Because of park’s status as a historical landmark, she wants the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Quezon-Avanceña family, the descendants of the late Manuel L. Quezon, to have a say on the matter.
The MRT 7 is one of the seven mass transit infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration to link San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, to North Avenue, Quezon City, and cut travel time between the two locations from two hours to 34 minutes.
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