Courts allow construction of MRT-7 depot

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 28) — The construction of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) depot began this week after two courts sided with the government, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Wednesday.

DOTr said the works on the depot of the MRT-7, which will connect Quezon City and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, started on Tuesday.

It said the construction of the 20-hectare depot continued after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 92 and 98 recently issued the writ of possession or a document needed to recover the possession of land to DOTr and its concessionaire, SMC Mass Rail Transit 7, Inc. (SMRT7).

DOTr said the depot site along Quirino Highway in Quezon City "was found optimal for right-of-way implementability, asset constructibility, capital expenditure and operational expense efficiency, and operational reliability and maintainability."

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in September complained to senators that the legal woes delayed the project. DOTr said the property owners refused the market value offer for the depot site. With the Republic Act No. 10752 or the Right-of-Way Act, DOTr filed an expropriation case against the lot owners.

The MRT-7 project is almost halfway complete, as of October. It is a 23-km. railway with 13 stations that will connect from the MRT-3 North Avenue station to San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan

DOTr said it is scheduled to begin partial operations in 2021. Despite delays, the government vowed to complete the train line within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.