Quezon prov'l council OKs construction of toll road

By Belinda Otordoz

September 20, 2023, 1:39 pm

LUCENA CITY – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) of Quezon on Tuesday approved a resolution endorsed by the Provincial Development Council (PDC) for the construction of 61-kilometer Toll Road 5 (TR5) requiring a budget of PHP28.1 billion.

Majority floor leader, Councilor Isaias Ubana, submitted the motion for the resolution's adoption during the regular session at the Kalilayan Hall in this city.

Ubana laid out details of the project that will start at Barangay Silangang Mayao, traverse the towns of Pagbilao, Padre Burgos, Agdangan, Unisan, and end in Gumaca town – spanning a total of 61 kilometers, with San Miguel Corporation (SMC) as the proponent.

Ubana said PDC approved in their meeting last week Resolution No. 34 Series of 2023, endorsing the project that will greatly benefit Quezon residents.

"PDC is optimistic that TR5 will spur economic growth in the municipalities the project will pass through, and this is just the first segment of TR5," he said.

However, another provincial councilor, Ferdinand Talabong, expressed concerns about the project, including the privately-held lands it will encroach upon.

He cited the issues involving the still not finished TR4 which connects Lucena City to Batangas Province.

"I have attended the groundbreaking of TR4 starting from then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then another groundbreaking during the term of former President Noynoy Aquino, then another groundbreaking during the presidency of Duterte but until now, we don't know where is the exit point of the project in Lucena City," Talabong said.

Some issues are still not completely resolved including the right of way and land conversions, he added.

Talabong wanted to know what villages would be affected by the road project, and also if some issues have been addressed, such as environmental issues.

Meanwhile, Ubana assured Talabong that a complete roadmap will be furnished to the provincial council, identifying villages that will be affected.

In the end, Councilor Jerry Talaga proposed a meeting between agencies and departments concerned, including officials from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Provincial Planning and Development Office, the Provincial Assessor (for the right of way matter), and the proponent SMC to address their queries. (PNA)