Carbon Alliance: Fight continues despite City Council’s plan to amend JVA on Carbon market project
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — The Carbon Alliance will continue its fight to make null and void the joint venture agreement (JVA) between the Cebu City government and Megawide Construction Corp. over the Carbon Market modernization program.
This despite the plan of the Cebu City Council to amend the memorandum of agreement (MOA) of the JVA for the Carbon project.
According to the Carbon Alliance in a press briefing, the fight continues because their complaint against the Carbon project has not been rendered moot by the court.
Lawyer Kristian Lora, one of the members of the legal panel of the Carbon Alliance, said that though the issues which were being incorporated on the proposed MOA were similar to what they had pointed out in their complaint, still it was not an assurance that the construction giant and the local chief executive would approve and adopt it.
Lora was referring to the move of the City Council, on Wednesday, September 1, to agree to draft a supplementary MOA to the JVA entered into by the local government and Megawide.
He said that the most pressing issue of the proposed amendment of the Market Code of the city, where he claimed vendors groups were allegedly were not consulted.
Aside from that, Lora and the Carbon Alliance said that the issues that Vice Mayor Michael Rama raised during his privilege speech at the City Council were similar to the group’s concerns on the project.
Rama earlier pointed out the following issues in the JVA: (1) the ability of the proponent to carry out the project, (2) ownership of the parcels of land involved in the JVA, (3) completeness of the process in entering a JVA, (4) assurance for a better living for Bato, Ermita residents, (5) concerns about the management of market fees and charges and security of the vendors and other stakeholders.
“While we welcome this development, positive development indeed. Our complaint pending before the court has not yet been rendered moot by this development. So, the fight continues,” said Lora.
More discussions, amendments to JVA
For his part, Lawyer Ian Manticajon, another member of the Carbon Alliance’s legal panel, said that the action of the City Council would speak for itself which would require more discussions and amendments to the JVA.
“Kaning lihok sa city council ug ni Vice Mayor Rama, nagpamatuod lamang sa validity sa among baruganan basi sa kaso nga among gi-file. So, kami ni appreciate lang pod mi sa nahitabo,” Manticajon said.
(This move by the City Council and Vice Mayor Rama, proves the validity of our stand based on the case that we filed. So we really appreciate what happened.)
Manticajon said they believed that such changes would help correct some of the infirmities of the contract which would include the issue on the public and competitive bidding.
He noted that only 10 days were granted to the potential challengers in case of unsolicited proposal instead of the minimum number of 120 days as stated under City Ordinance 2154 and NEDA guidelines of 2013.
“The language in Annex B of City Ordinance 2154 and the NEDA guidelines of 2013 is simple and clear — 120 days are the minimum. It is mandatory. It is a command that cannot be disregarded,” said Manticajon.
He said that genuine bidding would be essential to the validity of contracts and that unless the issue would be addressed, the JVA contract would still face a serious obstacle.
Manticajon said that they were now preparing their position paper, saying that they had already received an order from the court to submit this until Monday, September 6, 2021.
Maintain status quo
And while the issues on the JVA were not yet resolved, Winefredo Miro, president of the Ambulant Vendors Association (AVA), urged the City Council to maintain the status quo.
“Ato hangyoon ang city council nga status quo lang sa ta karon. Wa lang sa ta’y movement [sa Carbon] until masulbad na ang problema sa JVA,” he said.
(We will request the City Council to maintain the status quo for now. Let us have no movement (in Carbon) until the problem about the JVA will be solved.)
Miro further said that the move to amend the MOA was a shame for the city council, stressing that they should have read and studied well the JVA before they approved it.
“Actually sa pagkakaron mauwaw gyud sila kay mga abogado baya na sila. Nahitabo na nuon nasupalpal lang sila karon gumikan sa ilang negligence sa ilang trabaho nga supposed to be before sila mo approve dapat ilang gibasa dapat ilang gitun-an na,” said Miro.
(Actually, for now, they should be ashamed because they are lawyers. What happened is that they are blocked because of their negligence in doing their job — that before they approve they should first read and study it.)
Invite at City Council
According to Anna Marie Sipalay-Ariosa, CARBON Alliance chairperson, the AVA is one of 40 vendors’ associations in Carbon market.
Ariosa, who cited the development as a partial victory and a positive one, said she hoped that the City Council would invite them should there be hearings and further amendments about the project and listen to their alternative plan on the project.
Ariosa said they even had no idea that the council would be amending the Market Code on Wednesday if not for the news about it.
“Ako nanghinaot ko nga paminawon pod mi sa council kon duna pod mi presentation sa among alternative plan para sa kaayuhan sa Carbon, said Ariosa.
(I am hoping that the Council would listen to us if there is a presentation of our alternative plans for the betterment of Carbon.)
“Nga financially viable siya ug sigurado mi nga pang-masa gyud kaayo kay kami sa mga vendors sa Carbon man gud dili man mi supak ug gani mas ganahan mi kay nangandoy mi nga palamboon ang Carbon kay once molambo ang Carbon molambo pod ang among panginabuhian,” she said.
(That it will be financially viable and we are sure that it is for the masses because we, the vendors of Carbon, we are not against that and we even like that because we also dream of making Carbon viable because once Carbon would prosper then our livelihood would also prosper.)
“So mao lang na hinaot ko nga abli ang pultahan sa atoang konseho sa pagdawat ug pagpaminaw sa unsa among i-presentar,” she added.
(So that is what we hope for that the City Council door would be open to receive and listen to what we will present.)
The Carbon Alliance is an alliance of organizations and individuals in Carbon and Cebu City, who filed a case last August 25 in court for the nullification of the JVA between Megawide and the Cebu City government.
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