CPA to push through with its port project despite JV deal

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva September 30,2016 - 10:46 PM
Victor Songco, Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc. president (right) and Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado (second from right) show guests an architectural perspective of the proposed port project (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO).

Victor Songco, Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc. president (right) and Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado (second from right) show guests an architectural perspective of the proposed port project (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO).

The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) will pursue its proposed international container port project in Consolacion town even after the municipal government signed an agreement with a private developer to build a similar facility in the area.

CPA General Manager Edmund Tan said that the proposed P9.13-billion port project in Barangay Tayud had already been approved on Wednesday by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Council-Cabinet Committee (Neda ICC-CabComm).

“Regardless (of the agreement, our proposal) will push through. But if somebody is going to interfere, (then) we might as well do some other study,” Tan told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview on Friday.

The Consolacion municipal government, headed by Mayor Teresa Alegado, on Thursday entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement with Mega Harbour Port and Development, Inc. for the construction of a P16.5-billion international container port project in the town.

Tan said he had earlier told Alegado not to push through with the JV since the CPA was already working on a similar project.

One step away

But since the CPA’s proposal is already one step away from approval by the Neda Board, which is chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, he said they had no choice but to go on with it even though they could still conduct another feasibility (study) somewhere else like in Lilo-an or Cordova.

“If we do that, however, we’ll go through all the processes again. It will hit snags, and it will take time,” Tan said.

A 12-hectare site in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion, is being eyed for the new international container port, the construction of which is seen to decongest the existing port at the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.

Funding will come from the Korean Official Development Assistance (ODA) with a counterpart from the Philippine national government. Construction is expected to begin within 2017 should the Neda Board approve it by year-end, and end 35 months later.

Before securing the approval of Neda’s ICC-CabComm, CPA had to get the nod of the Neda’s ICC technical board as well as comply with requirements such as the Environmental Compliance Certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as a recommendation from the Philippine Reclamation Authority.

Mega Harbour, on the other hand, was proposing to reclaim 85 hectares of land in Consolacion where the 1,200-meter berthing facility would be constructed, thus increasing Cebu’s capacity to receive port calls from international vessels.

CPA approval

However, before the developer could implement its JV with Consolacion, it would have to go through all the necessary steps and get the approval of the CPA.

Republic Act No. 7621 or the CPA Charter provides that no private person or entity or local government unit can construct a port or pier without a permit from the CPA. It also states that only the CPA can manage, operate, maintain and develop ports and port facilities in the whole Cebu province.

While CPA has yet to receive a permit application from Mega Harbour, Tan said they would immediately object to the proposed project.

“We will object not because we don’t want a port to be built there, but because we are already pursuing our own,” said Tan.

Tan said that Mega Harbour had already came to the CPA to discuss plans for the proposed port, but since then president Benigno Aquino III did not like the idea of unsolicited proposals, the CPA turned down their proposal.

Mega Harbour is a subsidiary of the R-II Group of Companies, which is engaged in infrastructure, housing and property development, port operations, waste management and environmental projects, among others.

“They (Consolacion and Mega Harbour) should have consulted with us first. In the end, we will still have the last say,” Tan said.

Mayor’s explanation

Mayor Alegado, for her part, said that JV signing was only the first step and that they intended to present the proposal to the CPA afterwards as stated in the agreement.

Alegado said that she could do nothing if the CPA would object to the proposal, but the office would be answerable to her constituents.

She said the signing of the JV was not a matter of which party brought more advantage to the municipal government, but it was more about opportunity.

Alegado earlier said that the project was consulted in line with the Mega Cebu roadmap around two years ago, and they were finally able to have it with the backing of her vice mayor and city council.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu port, Cebu Port Authority, Consolacion, CPA, ICC, Investment Coordination Council, Investment Coordination Council-Cabinet Committee, Korean Official Development Assistance, National Economic and Development Authority, National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Council-Cabinet Committee, NEDA, NEDA ICC-CABCOMM, ODA, port, port project

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