The Provincial Government is progressing in its negotiation with utility companies and government agencies whose assets encroached on Capitol lots along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City, beginning in front of the Capitol all the way to Fuente Circle.
Of the entities involved, however, DPWH stands out as having encroached on the biggest area which stands at 42,615 square meters, said Thello Cardente of the DPWH Cebu City District Office.
In a report to Gov. Gwen Garcia on Thursday, April 20, Cardente said their encroachment consists of 24,242 sq.m. on the right side of the road; and another 18,373 sq.m. on the left side of the road.
The Capitol owns the lot titles along Osmeña Blvd, including the road and the sidewalk on both sides. In the titles, however, only 20 meters were annotated as road lots for public use, which DPWH violates when it extended the road width to 24 meters, or an additional two meters on each side during its construction.
Gov. Garcia, whose policy has always been to never sell provincial properties, however, will make an exemption for DPWH and would allow the agency to buy the lots since these can never be taken back.
The computation for the remuneration, the governor added, would have to begin on the date of the road construction, with compounding interest on the succeeding years until the properties are fully paid.
Cardente also told the governor of DPWH’s interest to buy two more meters on each side of the road — or four more meters — for road shouldering, bringing their total lot payable to eight meters.
MWCD general manager Edgar Donoso reported that their assets, which include wells and distribution channels, have encroached on a total area of 851.126 square meters of Capitol lots. Of the figure, 743.206 sq.m. accounted for their encroachment along Osmeña Blvd, while another 107.92 sq.m. encroachment is recorded in another Capitol property in Banilad.
Pending the continuing tracing of when the water distributor started operations, the Capitol agreed for now that rent computation would begin in 1975 when MCWD took over from the now defunct Osmeña Waterworks System.
For their part, VECO president Engr. Raul Lucero told the governor that they have electric posts occupying Capitol lots in the area in as early as 1976.
In 2014, however, they have transferred their cable lines underground.
Their cable lines, from the Capitol all the way to Fuente Osmeña, measured 600 meters in length.
Both MCWD and VECO, moreover, will not only be asked to pay retroactive rent beginning on their recorded date of encroachment, but also on the following months and years when they would still be placing their assets on Capitol lots.
The case for telecommunication companies Globe and PLDT would be different.
Patrick Gloria, external affairs director for Globe; and Erwin Rubi, operations head of PLDT, agreed to be charged uniformly for their usage of Capitol lots for 18 years, from 1996 until 2014, when they made their 600-meter cable lines hang from at least 15 VECO posts along the length of Osmeña Blvd.
After 2014, however, they transferred their cable lines underground on adjacent roads from Osmeña Blvd, effectively ceasing from their encroachment.
Once they shall have paid their bills, therefore, they shall have settled their obligations to the Province. | Ioannes P. Arong