Cenro files complaint vs CPA for ‘illegal’ wharf construction


THE Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) has filed a complaint against Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and A.T Tan Construction Corp. for building a wharf at the back of the National Museum of the Philippines-Cebu, formerly Malacañang sa Sugbo.

In the complaint affidavit, signed by Cenro officer-in-charge, Raymarr Hijara, the city government requested the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR 7) to “impose appropriate fines and sanctions against the respondents.”

It also called for the issuance of a cease and desist order based on violations under the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System or the Presidential Decree 1586, after due investigation.

Hijara lodged the complaint before the DENR-EMB in Mandaue City on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. He was accompanied by Cebu City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena.

Hijara said the construction of a wharf in a body of water used for fisheries will impact water quality, disrupt natural processes and harm marine life due to the introduction of pollutants.

Citing Section 4 of Presidential Decree (PD) 1586 and Section 4 of PD 1151, Hijara said such projects require an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and an Environmental Impact Statement detailing the project’s effects and mitigation measures.

Hijarra said there were no records of ECC and Certificate of Non-Coverage that could be found regarding the project.

On Thursday, March 21, SunStar Cebu tried to get a comment from the CPA regarding the complaint, but to no avail.

Earlier, the City Government, through its Office of the Building Official, sued officials of the CPA, before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, for constructing over 18 structures without the required permits. Among the structures are the CPA Main Administration Building, CPA Social Hall and Canteen, CPA PSSEMD Office Building, CPA Sports Facility and CPA Records Building and Fabrication Area, all in the Cebu International Port complex.

The respondents of the complaint lodged before the Office of the Ombudsman are Glenn Castillo, former general manager of the CPA, and Francisco Comendador III, the current general manager.

Filed were criminal cases for 18 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) 3019, Usurpation of Authority under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code, and violation of Section 301 about Section 213 of Presidential Decree (PD) 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines, as well as administrative cases for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The CPA reportedly refused to secure building permits as it maintained that the City Government’s powers cannot extend and apply to the CPA, saying that under their charter, they have the power to regulate, license and supervise structures or construction within its port district. / AML


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