CPA resumes construction

Cebu City File Photo
Cebu City File PhotoPhoto by Yans Baroy

THE rift between the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and the Cebu City Government, under Mayor Michael Rama, is far from over.

Just two days after the City Government installed railings to bar entry to the CPA’s port extension project, which is deemed illegal due to alleged lack of permits, the CPA pressed forward with clearing operations on April 3, 2024, and resumed construction of the port extension.

The City Government enforced the notice of illegal construction and work stoppage order issued by its Office of the Building Official (OBO) on April 1.

Mary Knoll Lague-Bolasa, spokesperson for the CPA, confirmed on Saturday, April 6, that construction works for the New R.C Deck Port Facility had resumed last April 3.

“It is our commitment to the Office of the Transportation Security (OTS) to maintain and implement the national transport security plan, therefore, we have to secure the perimeter of the port and prevent unauthorized access,” said CPA General Manager Kit Comendador in a statement on the agency’s official Facebook page on Friday, April 5.

The CPA also repaired the gate that the City Government personnel had destroyed to gain access to the CPA’s premises.

In a statement on April 2, the CPA condemned the actions of the City Government, calling it “flagrant acts of oppression, harassment, grave abuse and usurpation of authority, and blatant disregard of the law and judicial processes committed by men and women in the seat of power who publicly display knowledge of the law yet conceal a weak ethical core.”

Sought for comment, Cebu City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, in a text message on Saturday, April 6, said he would still need to refer the recent development to the mayor, the city administrator, and other city officials.

“I have yet to confer with Mayor Michael Rama, Atty. Collin Rosell, the city administrator, and other city officials on our next move to address it,” Gimena said.

On Feb. 2, OBO issued 15 notices of violation to the CPA for buildings and structures. On Feb. 5, it issued a notice of illegal construction and a work stoppage order.

On March 8, the City Government installed a biofence to halt the construction, deemed illegal.

On March 15, the City Government filed a case against the CPA before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for constructing a wharf without the necessary building permit.

The complaint was filed against Glenn Castillo, the 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 in relation to 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 in earlier statements said it is not under the jurisdiction of the OBO of the City Government.

Aside from the issue of port construction, the CPA and the City Government also have an ongoing ownership dispute over the Compania Maritima premises, which is part of the area to be redeveloped under a multibillion joint venture agreement to modernize the Carbon Public Market. / AML


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