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House okays bill speeding up right-of-way acquisition for gov't projects

The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill expediting right-of-way (ROW) acquisition and implementation on infrastructure projects.

House Bill 6571 gathered 239 yes votes, three no votes, and one abstention during Monday’s plenary session.

In a statement, Speaker Ferdinand Romualdez said House Bill 6571 will address delays in the implementation of public works projects like highways, expressways, railways, ports, and other mass transportation systems by mandating implementing agencies to explore all available modes of resolving ROW issues.

Likewise, the bill allows government agencies to offer the owners of land affected by ROW acquisition current market value or zonal value as determined by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, whichever is higher.

“Let us put an end to this gridlock. Private ownership should give way to public interest and welfare,” Romualdez, one of the authors of the measure, said.

The bill also provides that implementing agencies could shoulder the cost of replacing structure and improvements on the land, including machinery, and provide appropriate compensation such as for income loss.

Further, the bill states that upon execution of the deed of sale, the implementing agency will pay the landowner 100% of the agreed price provided that the title to the property is clean.

If the affected land is untitled, its possessor must show proof of continuous and exclusive possession, including a real estate tax certificate.

In case the area to be acquired is occupied by informal settlers, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) will, in coordination with local government units and implementing agencies concerned, establish and develop resettlement sites for informal settlers and provide basic services and community facilities.—AOL, GMA Integrated News