LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Former mayor Edna Tabanda is set to speak before the local council to clarify issues surrounding the controversial Jarco shopping center project.

Tabanda has opted to talk with local officials on details of the Jarco Realty and Development Corporation mall.

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“I am ready to face the council and ask about the project, things have to be [clarified],” she said.

The local council unanimously approved the ratification of the Jarco contract last month, allowing Mayor Artemio Galwan to enter into a contract with Jarco president Luciano Tan for the construction of a multipurpose commercial complex.

Tabanda is expected to ask questions about the project’s environmental impact and the details of the deal, which she said should be environmentally compatible.

Originally, the mall will stand three storeys high with an area of 3,900 square meters at the public market, which is now being used as a parking area for vegetable trucks and jeepneys. The mall was supposed to be built under a build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) agreement.

Tabanda is also crying foul over officials disregard for public consultation for the project.

But Mayor Artemio said no permit has been issued to Jarco for the project.

Galwan said the municipality is in need of investors despite the increase of business permits applications from 2,000 to 4,000.

He said plans, including the scale model of the proposed business complex, will still be decided upon by the local government and stakeholders.

Greg Abalos, who is also opposing the mall, is hoping to gather enough evidence to file an injunction to stop the project. (Ma. Elena Catajan)