BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The company behind the scuttled proposed P39-Billion Davao Reclamation and Ports Development Project has hinted it would sue Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Duterte-Carpio said the Davao City government will no longer pursue its Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the Manila-based Mega Harbour over the project.
The Davao Coastline and Port Development Project was to carve out over 200 hectares of coastline area to be developed into a commercial and industrial complex.
Approved in 2016 by then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, now President, and the Davao City Council, the local government and Mega Harbour would share revenue from the reclaimed land.
“We cannot stand by this. We are deeply concerned, even seriously alarmed (by your decision),” said Mega Harbour president Engineer Victor Songco in his letter dated July 27 to Duterte-Carpio.
Duterte-Carpio earlier said the city government is ready for any legal action that Mega Harbour may bring up due to the termination of the JVA.
Songco said the company received a letter dated July 19, from Duterte-Carpio informing about her “final decision not to further proceed with the project.”
In a press stament last week after Duterte-Carpio announced that she was terminating the JVA, Mega Harbour said it was shocked by the Mayor’s “unilateral and arbitrary” decision.
Mega Harbour described the “unilateral and premature” termination as “flimsy.”
The basis for Duterte-Carpio’s decision in terminating the JVA (is) a “mere product of a fertile imagination,” said the company.
Mega Harbour said it did not expect the mayor’s decision.
“We never saw it coming. All the while we thought that we were all on the same page in trying to improve the lives of the marginalized in those 10 coastal barangays – involving some 4,000 families,” the statement stated.
The reclamation project, stretching from Agdao district in the northern coastline of the city to the mouth of Davao River in the south, would run through thickly populated urban poor areas.
Mega Harbour said it has the “efforts and resources towards improving lives of the marginalized community, tapping every sector in our network, always highly spirited in our drive to exceed expectations in complying with each and every term of the duly-approved agreement.”
”Our vision is clear, fully supported by all the geological, economic, financial and other related studies one can think of in preparing the groundwork for a project of that scale,” Mega Harbour said in the statement .
“The inspiration comes from what we are certain (that) the project will ultimately provide, not only to those 4,000 families but to all the Davao City residents and the rest of the Mindanaoans,” it said.
Mega Harbour said the project would generate “infrastructure, jobs, livelihood, trade, industries, investments, tourism, and many other socioeconomic benefits and opportunities — all at no cost to the city government neatly put together in one package as an end-to-end anti-poverty solution and a historic model of public-private partnership.”
Mega Harbour said it has submitted requirements demanded by the local government.
All the study and preliminary analyses of the areas covered by the project (were) presented and accepted by then-Mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the company said in the statement.
Mega Harbour also said it has submitted the Environmental Impact Studies to the DENR for issuance of an Environmental Compliance Certificate ( ECC).
”Therefore, there should be no issue on the environmental compliance since it is now for approval of the DENR,” it said.
Duterte-Carpio said the project’s potential negative impact on the environment is among her reasons for terminating the agreement.