ISLA DELA VICTORIA GETS OFF THE GROUND

By Morexette Marie B. Erram |December 22,2018 - 10:30 PM

A fence is being constructed in the 8-hectare Kawit Island property as the Gokongwei-led Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. starts the development of the P18-
billion Isla dela Victoria project. .(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

P18-BILLION PROJECT

Civil works for the P18-billion integrated resort Isla dela Victoria on Kawit Island at the South Road Properties (SRP) are expected to start in January next year.

Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, executive assistant of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, announced that Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI), the firm that will develop the eight-hectare property, has started securing permits and documents in order to proceed to its actual construction.

This despite the project being a subject of at least two lawsuits.

“Well, for UHRI, they already conducted soil test to determine the structure and depth of their foundation. By first week of January, they will submit their application for permits to start the construction of the building. This includes the building permit,” said Fernandez.

“Everything is on track so probably between the last week of January and the first week of February, they can begin the piling works wherein they will form the foundation of the buildings,” he added.

UHRI is the development arm of JG Summit Holdings Inc., one of the country’s largest conglomerates led and owned by the Gokongwei family.

They own and operate Robinsons Land Corp., Robinsons Malls, Robinsons Bank, Universal Robina, and Cebu Pacific.

The Cebu City Council gave Osmeña a go-signal last August to enter into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with UHRI President Frederick Go on developing Kawit Island into a casino, hotel, conference halls, a resort, and an amphitheater.

Under the agreement, the city government will get a 10 percent share of the profits earned by UHRI during the 50-year period that it is leasing the Kawit Island property.

Isla dela Victoria, who was named after Cebuano Bantay Dagat officer Jojo dela Victoria, is expected to generate 5,000 additional jobs. Its target date of completion is 2021.

Demolition

Even if it were a non-earning property of the city government, Kawit Island, however, has at least four buildings within its territory, two of which will be affected by the first phases of Isla dela Victoria’s development.

These are the Sugbu Building, which houses the offices of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO), and the SRP Administration Office, and the Senior Citizens’ Building.

The offices of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) of Cebu City, and the SRP-Police are also located within Kawit Island.

But Fernandez said that in the meantime, they would be spared from the first stages of the construction.

Based on the terms and conditions laid down on the JVA, UHRI will not only demolish these buildings but to replicate them on a city-owned property in front of the Cebu City Hall.

Fernandez said that replication is needed to avoid dislocation of some of their departments holding offices on Kawit Island.

He added that UHRI’s replication permit was already approved.

“By mid-January, UHRI is aiming to submit the demolition permit to tear down buildings within the Kawit Island Property, and submit the inventory of the items to the Commission on Audit (COA) for
approval,” said Fernandez.

“Well, some department heads and officials of UHRI met last week to discuss how to go about the demolition and replication of these buildings. And the replication permit was already approved,” he added.

Temporary relocation

On the other hand, Fernandez assured that the delivery of services expected from the offices located on Kawit Island will not be hampered by the looming development.

He said both the city government and UHRI agreed for the SRP Administration Office to be temporarily relocated to the SRP-Police building, which has been unoccupied for a couple of years already.

“We will be issuing a notice for them to vacate soon,” said Fernandez.

“UHRI promised to spruce it up, and improve its condition to house the SRP Administration,” he added.

On the other hand, Fernandez said employees under CCDRRMO have voluntarily relocated themselves to another building.

“The disaster team is already OK. They have relocated themselves to a certain area in SRP, somewhere near the city’s warehouse. That warehouse has a yard which they need as space for all of their equipment,” he said.

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