Toledo, agency ink project deal

A MEMORANDUM of understanding (MOU) was signed by the Toledo City Government and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA)to reclaim 11 hectares near the wharf.

The MOU was signed by Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña and Acting City Administrator Ferdinand D. Marquez for the side of the Toledo City Government; and PRA General Manager and CEO Janilo E. Rubiato and assistant general manager for reclamation regulation Joseph John Literal.

“The purpose (of the MOU) is for PRA to be able to give us guidelines that we have to comply with before we finally get into the approval of the reclamation project,” Osmeña said.

The mayor said the guidelines will be complied within six months.

“We have money. The cost of the project is P644 million,” he said.

Osmena said the funds will be taken partly from the city’s income and partly from a loan.

Once realized, the operation of the city’s wharf will be enhanced because several vessels can be accommodated, and they will have enough space for container yards.

The amount is much higher than the P185 million appropriated by the Toledo City Council in 2015 to reclaim the area, but the project did not push through because of opposition from environmentalists.

Rubiato said they will allow the Toledo City Government to reclaim the area once it will complete all the requirements set by law.

Rubiato said Osmeña requested their presence to sign the MOU with the local government unit (LGU) basically for the evaluation and approval of the PRA so they can proceed with the reclamation.

He said that Toledo City will submit the requirements as provided by the MOU, and PRA will assist the City Government in every step.

The requirements include the feasibility study, environmental impact study (EIS), which the LGU needs for the processing of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC), geo-hazard study, and detailed engineering.

The ECC will be issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) upon submission of the EIS.

“So, while they prepare the EIS to be submitted to us, they will also submit the same EIS for purposes of securing ECC from DENR,” Rubiato said.

Rubiato clarified that they cannot do reclamation without an ECC. If the DENR will not issue an ECC, they cannot do anything about it.

He said the PRA is recommending approval of the project to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte. (EOB)

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