Gokongwei-led firm capable to carry out Kawit Is. project
Cebu Citys tell courts:
Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) is technically and financially capable to carry out an P18-billion project on Kawit Island that now forms part of the South Road Properties (SRP).
The Cebu City Government, together with lawyers representing UHRI, asserted this in their response sent to Branch 23 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City on October 15 after the capacity of the Gokongwei-led company to carry out the project was questioned in court.
UHRI is the development arm of JG Summit Holdings Corp., a conglomerate founded by tycoon John Gokongwei.
“UHRI possess the technical and financial capacity to develop the Cebu Integrated Resort and Casino Project. RLC (Robinsons Land Corp.) and UHRI, both affiliates of the Gokongwei Group of Companies, executed a memorandum of cooperation for the utilization of RLC’s technical expertise and financial resources to develop the project,” portions of the 35-page document read.
“As of June 2018, RLC was able to build and operate 39 shopping malls, 18 offices, 17 hotels, 38 condominiums, 31 condominium community towers, and 38 house and lot community projects,” it added.
In addition, they revealed that RLC has an approved credit line amounting to P19 billion as of October 2017, which, consequently, will enable UHRI to have an “undoubted” financial capacity to undertake the project.
Busay Barangay Councilor Amilo Lopez, who is allied with the opposition Barug-PDP Laban, filed a case before the court in an attempt to stop the joint venture agreement (JVA) that the Cebu City government has entered with UHRI.
His petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prohibit Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña from signing the deal was junked by the court on August 28 due to lack of urgency.
But the merits of the case are still up for deliberation.
Lopez, in his complaint, claimed that UHRI violated City Ordinance No. 2154 that served as the government’s guidelines on entering into joint ventures with private firms.
He added that UHRI was only formed in 2017, and has no track records of completed projects, making it unqualified to enter into a JVA with the city government.
UHRI is set to develop eight hectares of the Kawit Island property into an integrated resorts, called “Isla dela Victoria,” which will have an amphitheatre, hotels, conference halls, and other leisure facilities.
The city government and UHRI responded by stating that they will submit before the court a list of ongoing joint ventures, its audited financial statements “for the past three calendar years,” and latest tax returns as proof.
“With all due respect to the petitioner (Lopez), all successful corporations that ventured into different development projects had to start somewhere. This is the policy behind the start-up of each and every business,” the document said.
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