Rama orders work on ‘CPA project’ stopped

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. (Photo from Cebu City PIO)

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has ordered a construction near the City Hall to stop for lack of a building permit.

During his “Ingna’ng Ma-yor” program on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, Rama said he noticed what appears to be a port expansion project of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA). He said he could see it from the top floor of the City Hall’s executive building.

The construction is near the disputed Compania Maritima at the back of the old Aduana building, now the National Museum of the Philippines-Cebu.

Rama expressed his disapproval to the CPA for its “lack of decency,” as the latter did not inform the City Government about the project, which falls within the City’s municipal waters.

“Ako’ng ipa-undang na (I’m ordering the construction to be stopped). Wa man na’y mga (It doesn’t have a) building permit,” Rama said.

“Mao na’y mga utok nga buringog. Na’ay bag-ong (Is there a new) City Hall? Kinsa’y naghatag nila’g (Who issued their) building permit?” he added.

According to a report on the Cebu City News & Information Facebook page on Wednesday, March 6, the construction was first noticed by Reymarr Hijara, acting head of the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

The report said Hijara will meet Assistant City Administrator Ian Hassamal, Office of the Building Official Chief Florante Catalan, City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena and Land Management Officer Janeses Ponce to discuss Rama’s concern.

Lot dispute

SunStar Cebu tried to reach the CPA through its public information officer, but the latter has yet to issue a comment on the matter.

It has yet to be determined if the CPA has anything to do with the project.

The City Government has an ongoing lot dispute with the CPA.

In December 2022, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) granted the CPA’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction to prohibit the City Government from occupying any portion of the Compania Maritima premises.

The contested parcel of land is located across City Hall.

Last August, the RTC denied the City’s motion for reconsideration, and affirmed the CPA’s ownership of the Compania Maritima and its premises.

Last September, the City Government had a run-in with the CPA after the CPA installed a steel fence along the seaside near the Compania Maritima.

The City Government ordered the CPA to remove the fence, saying it was illegal since the CPA did not secure a permit for it.

The rift between the local government unit and the government entity stems from this lot dispute. This rift widened when the CPA exercised ownership of the Compania Maritima and its premises as part of the Port of Cebu and within its territorial jurisdiction after the 2022 RTC ruling.

In January 2021, the City Government entered into a joint venture agreement with Megawide Construction Corp. for the Carbon Market redevelopment project, which included the construction of the Puso Village that currently sits within the disputed Compania Maritima premises. / EHP


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