CEBU City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia has called out the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) for initiating legal action to assert its claim on the century-old Compaña Maritima and its surrounding area.

In a privilege speech during the City Council’s regular session Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, Garcia criticized the CPA, adding that its current legal action against the City only impedes the city’s economic and tourism development.

Garcia made the reaction after the CPA placed tarpaulins at the Compaña Maritima earlier this month which contained the writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City that prohibits the City Government from occupying any portion of the century-old structure or its adjacent areas.

With the court’s order, Megawide Construction Corp. has stopped its development of the area including the ongoing construction of the Puso Village.

Since there is an ongoing litigation about the ownership of the property, Garcia said that he will not discuss case merits but he will express his feelings as chairman of the Cebu City Historical and Cultural Affairs Commission and chairman of the city’s Waterfront Development Commission.

“Ladies and gentlemen, how dastardly is the act of hampering a project that supports an industry that can provide better job opportunities for coastal communities, and an avenue for people to work in a decent and empowering environment that enhances their quality of life?” said Garcia.

Garcia said he also criticized the CPA for initiating legal action to protect its claim on the Compaña Maritima, adding that the port authority has not even initiated efforts to preserve the structure.

Garcia said the city’s act of developing the Compaña Maritima was aimed to provide job opportunities for the city’s coastal communities.

Garcia said that the Puso Village, which would house “Best-of-Cebu” products and services would be vital, especially now that the city is slowly opening its doors to tourism once again.

“You cannot fathom how hopeful I was when the long-forgotten Compaña Maritima finally got the treatment it deserved, following our execution of the redevelopment of the Carbon District,” he added.

The Puso Village was supposed to be open in the second week of January but the injunction order issued in favor of CPA has resulted in the suspension of all construction works.

SunStar Cebu sought for CPA’s reaction but its management refused to give comment on Garcia’s privilege speech.