Cebu City ‘losing out’ in delay-A A +A
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
THE Ciudad project in Barangay Apas, a joint venture between the Cebu Provincial Government and a private company, is expected to generate 2,400 jobs, infuse P400 million into the local economy and provide additional revenue to the City Government.
This is what the City and its residents are losing out on, as a result of the delay in the project’s implementation, according to Gov. Gwen Garcia.
“Ngano ato man did-an o ato honongon ang usa ka development nga makaayo sa Sugbu (Why would you want to stop a project that is beneficial to Cebu City)? Is that pressure for sheer malice or fun?” the governor said.
Last Sunday, Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) admitted in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu that he has been applying pressure on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 so the Ciudad project will not get an environment compliance certificate (ECC), which is required so work can start.
The former Cebu City mayor earlier filed a complaint against Fifth Avenue Property Development Corp. official Michael Lloyd Dino, DENR 7 Director Fernando Quililan and Environmental Impact Assessment Division Chief William Cunada for allegedly violating Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“He is barking up the wrong tree,” the governor said without mentioning any names.
Garcia said no violation was committed since at time, no tree was cut on the 2.8-hectare Capitol property, which will be the site of the P1.2-billion project.
The governor said she is surprised that a public official would admit that he is exerting pressure on DENR officials. She also wondered if the ruse worked.
In a related development, Mayor Michael Rama wants to sit down with stakeholders of the Ciudad project to assess where the City can help in the progress of the commercial development.
“Some hands disturbed the development,” said Rama, referring to Osmeña’s admission.
Before, the issue was on traffic. Now, it’s a different concern, the cutting of trees, he said. “They are anti-development,” Rama said.
Quililan earlier told Fifth Avenue that his office could not issue an ECC if the developer did not have a tree-cutting permit. And the developer could not get one since DENR Undersecretary Annaliza Rebuelta Teh suspended last April 30 the processing of all tree-cutting permits.
But the developer said they plan to earth ball each tree, or transplant them.
Quililan said they will raise the issue of transplanting the trees and Osmeña’s charges against them before the DENR central office in Manila.
The site is home to 332 trees from 23 different species. Only 10 percent of these trees are premium species.
Last Saturday afternoon, one of the trees fell across the road and hit a vehicle, causing heavy traffic for three hours.
No one was injured.
Osmeña has criticized the Ciudad project, saying the site is the only place in the urban city where trees are aplenty. It is not the place where a mall can be built, he said.
In 2007, when he was still mayor, the City blamed traffic when it issued a moratorium on development along the Banilad-Talamban corridor.
The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) was supposed to conduct a traffic study soon after.
The study was diverted last year to support the City’s stand that flyovers do not solve traffic problems.
Rama said he will check with Citom chairperson Sylvan Jakosalem if the study pushed through.
Osmeña and Rama have been at odds with each other politically, which have resulted in clashes on various infrastructure issues, such as the Ciudad project and flyovers.
The former allies are set to face each other in the 2013 mayoral elections.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 26, 2012.