• SC asked to lift TRO on Agoo construction

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    AGOO, La Union: A construction firm has filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the cease and desist order issued by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on a road widening project in front of the Agoo Basilica.

    The NCAA’s petition to stop the construction and road widening project of the national highway was due to its alleged destructive effect on the historic church, the Basilica Minor of Our Lady of Charity or the Agoo Basilica.

    The church was founded in 1578 by two Franciscan priests and was elevated to Basilica Minore by Saint Pope John Paul 2nd in July 1982.

    Russell Bernal, managing officer of Ciara Construction/Berson Construction & Trading, claimed that the cease and desist order (CDO) issued by NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon has caused unnecessary delay of the government’s project, losses in construction funds, and deprived the public to enjoy the benefits of the development.

    Bernal said that he filed the petition at the Supreme Court on September 7 to resolve all the issues that caused the project’s delay.

    Through the CDO, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was ordered to stop the demolition of plant boxes in front of the church and the concrete fence of the Plaza dela Virgen to give way for the construction.

    The plant boxes and the fence reportedly encroach more than three meters of the national road and would obstruct the construction project.

    Workers started demolishing the fence last February 20 but the church, led by La Union Bishop Rodolfo Beltran, opposed the project as this would entail destroying structures with cultural and historical importance.

    DPWH officials and representatives of the construction firm questioned the issuance of the CDO claiming that the NCCA filed the order without conducting an ocular inspection.

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    1. There are so many buildings and structures that have encroached the highway in Agoo town proper. The alleged plant boxes in front the basilica were added during the construction of same. These boxes were of no importance as far as heritage is concerned. I should know because I was born and grew up in Agoo for the last 72 years. One glaring example of encroachment is the wall of the Aspiras Compound along the highway. It is just about 4 meters from the center of the highway.