The proposed P17 billion Sasa Wharf Modernization Project is facing bad weather in two fronts that could scuttle the national government mega-project.
The project yet to be bid out may be abandoned if the Sta. Ana Wharf project, a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) project between the Davao City government and a ports builder takes off the ground ahead of the Sasa project of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC)/
Worse, the Ombudsman has been asked to investigate why the cost of the project had jumped from P4 billion in 2013 to its present tag price of P17 billion.
“If the Sta. Ana project is approved way ahead of the Sasa port project, then the latter will become useless,” said Ivan C. Cortez, head of the Davao City Investment Promotions Center.
Davao City former councilor Peter Lavina has written the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the P17 billion expansion of the Sasa port.
Lavina asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to examine the price of the proposed wharf.
Lavina, in a letter dated May 18, asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to examine the price of the proposed Sasa Port in Davao
Representatives of the city government are set to meet with the Sta. Ana reclamation proponent, Mega Harbour Development Corp., to continue discussions on the unsolicited P39-billion mixed-use undertaking, said Cortez.
Cortez said the Mega Harbour Sta. Ana project, which will involve the reclamation of about 200 hectares, includes a pier for deep-sea cargo vessels aside from the commercial and residential components.
The proposed pier design can accommodate at least five vessels of ‘Panamax’ size, which is suitable for transiting the Panama Canal.
The city government and the proponent, with endorsement from the city council, have initially agreed that 40 hectares within the reclamation complex will be given to the local government for its own development and operations.
Part of the 40-hectare area will be allocated as a relocation area for residents currently living in disaster-prone areas.
Cortez said the city is looking at a “PPP within a PPP” setting with the city government bidding out the development of its area.
Earlier, the city government asked Mega Harbour to undertake an additional study covering the impact of its proposed project to vehicular and human traffic flow vis-à-vis the city’s downtown area.
The proposal includes the construction of a new coastal road.
The Sasa Port modernization project has been met with opposition in the Davao Region, including local government officials and the business sector.
The Sasa Wharf project has been discussed several times at the Davao City Council, with local officials saying they were not aware of the exact details of the project.
Lavina told reporters that he will “closely monitor” the issue until the awarding of the project.
“We are not against the modernization at Sasa port, but this PPP stinks,” Lavina said. “Ultimately, the burden will be passed on us the taxpayers, port users and consumers.”
Lavina and several councilors have publicly questioned the port modernization price, which was initially pegged at P4 billion in 2013 and later priced at P17 billion. With reports from BusinessWorld & Mindanao Times