Sacrificed, not consulted-A A +A
Sunday, February 9, 2014
MINGLANILLA officials submitted documents of its plan to build a 100-hectare reclamation project to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) last Aug. 7. Another letter, dated Aug. 27, asked for a memorandum of agreement.
The project, according to the feasibility study drafted in 2008 yet, includes the construction of an international seaport, an economic free zone, a new coastal road, and a circumferential road.
On Nov. 4, or over two months later, they officially informed Gov. Junjun Davide about the project and asked for the endorsement of the Provincial Government.
Lest he might say I misquoted him, let me quote verbatim Mayor Elanito Peña in his letter to both PRA general manager and CEO Peter Anthony Abaya and Governor Davide: “The main goal of this project is to generate revenue for the local government but we do intend on increasing employment rate in our local side of the province as well.”
Until now, however, residents of Barangay Tulay and Calajoan, who will be adversely affected, were not consulted about the project. After all, Minglanilla officials could be thinking: why consult the sacrificial lambs in this bid to generate revenues and increase employment?
I am not against development. However, development projects, especially one that involves reclaiming land from the sea, should undergo a tedious process that includes consulting those who will be adversely affected.
Mayor Peña should also know that the PRA requires an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), flooding and drainage studies, detailed engineering designs, geo-hazard assessment, and financial feasibility studies.
But no, he just wants to proceed with the approval process without doing all these requirements away from the public eye. Thanks to Tonton Antogop and Jun Caña for raising the issue of consultations in radio dyRC’s new morning program “Pros and Cons.”
Apparently, the lack of public consultations is just the tip of the iceberg. For now, let me just say that the Municipal Government’s private partner has a good track record in building subdivisions. But there is no reclamation project in its record.
The firm behind the 2008 feasibility study is known in the mining industry, especially in Mindanao.
I still have to fathom why and how it got into preparing the feasibility study for a
reclamation project in Minglanilla. Nakahinumdom ko sa akong migo nga magsigig tawag sa iyang uyab og “witch-heart” imbes “sweetheart.”
Retirement authority regional OIC Elma Corbeta is right. The key to make the Japanese retirement facility project at the South Road Properties (SRP) is the approval of the Cebu City Council. Reading about the endorsement of both Team Rama and BOPK councilors makes me confident that the approval won’t be as difficult as we thought just weeks ago.
While some quarters are still not convinced, hearing Councilor Margot Osmeña eagerly describing the project like she is a proponent during a radio interview last week is heartening. Maybe it is because 2016 is still two years away as some surmised. But I like to believe that both Team Rama and BOPK camps have the interest of Cebuanos in mind. We just need to shed off petty politics now that we are months away from the last election to move forward.
Customs Commissioner John Sevilla urged the DOJ to also facilitate smuggling cases because farmers have rights too, not just Vhong Navarro.
While at it, perhaps the NBI could also look into post-David Tan rice shipments in the Visayas facilitated by a Manila-based broker who was a former customs official.
I have been watching the televised legislative hearings into rice smuggling and understood that securing an import permit is required. But some rice importations are going around this in the name of relief for Yolanda victims.
It seems the public and many gatekeepers in media already decided who the hero is along with the villains in this Vhong Navarro controversy. But I am getting a different picture from the showbiz grapevine. The personalities involved–Vhong, Deniece and Cedric–reportedly are not telling us the whole truth. I don’t want to get into much detail although I did post more than a mouthful over a week ago in Maghisgot Kita’g Politika, Bay. Let’s just say the grapevine talks about “ecstacy,” “garahe,” and “jealousy” that led to the condo confrontation.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 10, 2014.