How is rush hour traffic for you these days? Apparently, the local government is on the move to solve the issue of heavy traffic. As part of the efforts to solve the heavy traffic problems we’ve been having, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 will be implementing a P33-million road widening project. Increasing the road width by 10 meters which includes demolishing part of the wall of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) facing the Filimon Sotto Drive. A date has already been set: September 14.
Opposition From INC
As a result, some areas of the compound will be removed such as “the district office of Buklod, INC’s organization for married couples; and the INC powerhouse,” as reported by Sun.Star. The demolition has already been delayed previously due to opposition from the INC.
They had sent a letter last year, October 2014, to the government saying “the project will destroy a religious edifice of historical significance and unduly disrupt constitutionally protected religious activities.” But Estrella Decena-Zaldivar from the legal office of DPWH explained that religious properties are in no way exempted from the state’s right to execute its power of eminent domain.
DPWH Has Authority
Decena-Zaldivar pointed out that Article 1 of Republic Act 917 states that part of the authority of DPWH is “the selection and designation of highways or highway projects to receive national aid; the administration, maintenance, improvement, reconstruction and construction expenditures on highway projects; the classification of highways; and the widths, acquisition and use of rights-of-way.”
“This Office therefore opines that a religious edifice of historical significance is not exempt from the ongoing road-widening project of the government because under the right of eminent domain, the State enjoys the right to expropriate private property; it is understood that the same includes religious properties,” she explained. The INC will be receiving compensation for the demolition.
Photo credits: Image from Youtube video uploaded by Adam Baker