BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte said City Hall would be lifting a closure order slapped in 2011 against Emar’s Hotel, Resort & Wavepool.
As soon as we receive the order lifting the closure, the Davao City Council will pass a resolution/ordinance endorsing the project, said Duterte, the presiding officer of the city council.
The endorsement of the Davao City Council is Emar’s passport to securing a permit from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the government agency regulating reclamation works in foreshore areas.
The Davao City Business Bureau has refused to renew the business permit of Emar’s in 2011 for lack of permit from the PRA.
Emar’s had built part of the resort complex on a foreshore area and on portions of a city government-owned Recreation Area.
The lack of the PPA clearance and failure to have its business permit renewed prompted a closure order signed by then acting city administrator Zuleika Lopez in 2011.
We commiserate with the plight of Emar’s, Duterte told durianburgdavao in an interview August 19 in his office at the Davao City Council.
He noted the resort had not been earning since it was closed down.
Emar’s had not been operating since the 2011 closure during the administration of then Mayor Sara Duterte.
Of late, it has appealed to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for the re-opening of the establishment in Times Beach, Matina Aplaya.
The company also paid P6.5 million in real property tax and rental in the amount of P700,000 despite its failure to operate since four years ago.
Before its temporary closure, the multi-million peso Emar’s resort was a top tourist destination. Its main selling pitch is the state-of-the-art Wavepool, the first in Mindanao.
In a related development, Duterte told durianburgdavao that the City legal Office is digging into the possibility that the closure order against Emar’s may have been issued “illegally.”
He did not give further details about the investigation but said that he was told that the City Legal Office is delving into the closure order than then acting city administrator Lopez signed in behalf of the Mayor Sara Duterte who at the time was on leave.
If this is true, then that order is null and void. Because it was an illegal order, there is no closure order to lift.
Nevertheless, whether the closure order was legal or not, the Davao City Council would endorse the Emar’s project as soon as City Hall sends notice that the closure order has been lifted, said Duterte.
In the previous city council, the committee on housing, which tackled the Emar’s issue, had recommended that the city government lease out the foreshore area occupied by Emar’s.
A special pricing committee headed by the City Economic Enterprise Division had established the amount of lease, which reportedly had been recommended by the City Legal Office as without any legal impediments.