DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 April) – Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte urged the city council to revise an ordinance that initially authorized the City Mayor’s Office to sign for the city a 1997 memorandum of agreement with the University of the Philippines to meet “urgent needs,” specifically the construction of a 20-hectare sports complex.
Duterte said the city was probably “just delaying” the project.
“Why don’t you want the project? It’s government land. Ano pang ireklamo mo diyan?” he asked.
The mayor said there was no finality of laws and that it was the power of the city council to revise the ordinance for the city to start constructing the 20-hectare sports complex at the university’s Mintal campus.
“It can be changed because we have to meet the exigencies of the moment. Walang lupa noon, ito ngayon UP ang nag offer,” Duterte said.
“All we have to do is to pour in money for the next generation,” he pointed out.
Duterte said the project would benefit up to the “third, fourth and fifth generation” of Dabawenyos and athletes.
The mayor has been vocal about removing the claimants within the university’s property.
The city council, meanwhile, has been careful in its use of language during deliberations for the passage of the authorization item currently being discussed on committee level, under the committee on rules and privileges.
Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, who was among the signatories of the 1997 ordinance, said the committee should clarify the issue with the settlers, numbering at least 32 households.
Social welfare committee chair Victorio Advincula Jr. said he was still for the project, but that there should be a clear development plan coming from the university.
Rules and privileges chair Bernard Al-ag said he would be asking university officials about the questions raised during the plenary last week, as the councilors were not satisfied by the answer coming from UP.
In an earlier interview, administrators from the university said they were open and willing to dialogue with the residents and design a sustainable relocation program within the campus if the city was not willing to move them out of the property.