CPA, Cebu City Gov't must talk to resolve issue - Bautista

Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista
Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista(Photo by EHP)

AMID the tension between the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and the Cebu City Government, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista stressed on Friday, April 19, 2024, the importance of continued collaboration between the two parties to resolve their issue.

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In a sideline interview on Friday, Bautista told the reporters that he was aware of the recent conflict between the two parties.

The clearing and fencing operation was conducted by personnel of the Cebu City's Office of the Building Officials (OBO), Prevention, Restoration, Order, and Enhancement (PROBE), and the Cebu City Legal Office against CPA's seaport extension project at the back of the National Museum of the Philippines and near the Compania Maritima and Plaza Independencia last March 15, 2024.

"We will just continue to coordinate with each other to see to it that we work together. So that we can address any problem or issues between CPA and the City of Cebu," Bautista said.

CPA is an attached agency of the DOTr.

Bautista met with Cebu City Mayor Micheal Rama on Friday. However, he was not able to discuss the matter with Rama.

CPA condemned the operation of the Cebu City Government after it trespassed and fenced the entrance of the ongoing seaport extension. It called the operation as an "act of oppression, harassment, grave abuse and usurpation of authority, and blatant disregard of the law."

The city government, on the other hand, stressed that the CPA has not secured the necessary permits for the seaport expansion project, and it has ignored the order of the City's OBO to stop the construction and comply with the requirements before the work resumption.

"The Cebu Ports Authority has taken over the property and they will continue the ongoing construction of the berth," Bautista said.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has called out the Cebu City Government for disrespecting and ignoring the territorial jurisdiction of CPA stipulated under Republic Act (RA) 7621 that created the port authority in 1992.

The OBO filed a complaint against the CPA before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for constructing buildings and a wharf without the necessary building permits on March 15, 2024.

However, CPA argued that these structures were situated within the base port of Cebu, which the city government has no territorial jurisdiction.

The City Government has an ongoing ownership dispute with the CPA over the Compania Maritima premises, which is part of the area to be redeveloped under the City’s P8 billion joint venture agreement with Megawide Construction Corp. to modernize the century-old Carbon Public Market.

However, a "writ of preliminary injunction" from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) was issued in favor of the port authority. (EHP)


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