June 17, 2024

The municipal council of La Trinidad, Benguet passed on third and final reading an ordinance expropriating a part of private lands at the Pines Park bridge in Barangay Balili.

The ordinance empowers Mayor Romeo Salda on behalf of the municipality to acquire through direct purchase or exercise the power of eminent domain or pursue expropriation proceedings over the two parcels of land at Km. 4.

The affected lots are part of the road right-of-way of the Pines Park bridge, particularly at the bridge approach going to the national highway.

Councilor Bartolome Baldas, author of the ordinance, said the ordinance will be transmitted to the provincial government for review.

Baldas said the ordinance is one of the essential requisites for the expropriation of private properties for public use according to precedent cases ruled by the Supreme Court.

Expropriation is the government’s power to take private property for public use upon just compensation to the owner.

In the ordinance, the mayor can offer to buy the parcels of land from the lot owners.

If the land owners did not respond after 30 days, the mayor shall immediately proceed to file expropriation proceedings or exercise the power of eminent domain.

But if the land owners accepted the offer, the mayor would execute a contract of sale to be followed by the deed of absolute sale, once the LGU and the owners reach an agreement.

An amount of P5 million was appropriated for the ordinance.

“Should this not be enough, this shall be supplemented from the budget of the land banking program of the municipal government,” the ordinance stated.

The Pines Park Bridge is now open for one-way traffic only where motorists may enter from Km. 4 national highway and exit at the alternate routes in Lubas-Tawang-Ambiong Road and at the Tebteb-Balili Road. 

La Trinidad Municipal Police Station Outgoing Chief Lt./Col. Leonard Danasen said the bridge is open to all types of vehicles but not weighing more than five tons.

Danasen said the one-way entry rule includes motorcycles and the latter are not allowed to counter-flow.

The LTMPS is monitoring the area to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. – Ofelia C. Empian