Signing of agreement for biggest reclamation project in Mindanao postponed

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Apr) – The signing of the joint venture agreement (JVA) between Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Engr. Victor S. Songco, president of the Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc., for the biggest reclamation project in Mindanao was postponed to sometime next month, an investment official said Monday.

The agreement was for the P38.9-billion 214-hectare reclamation project, a public-private partnership (PPP) which will rise off Davao City’s coast, covering the barangays from Agdao to Ecoland.

Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) head Ivan Cortez, in a telephone interview on Monday, said the signing will take place after the May 9 elections since the mayor is still busy in his campaign.

After the signing, the city government will then submit an application to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) for evaluation and endorsement to the the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for approval.

Under Section 3.1 of the JVA, it states that the agreement involves “the reclamation and horizontal development of 214 hectares more or less, of foreshore and offshore areas in the coastal bay within the jurisdiction of the City of Davao.”

Cortez said that all documents, including the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will be accomplished by December 2016.

He said the construction of the reclamation project will take place next year and is expected to be completed in 10 years’ time.

Cortez added that the urban center of the city is already crowded that it needs to expand “or reclaim an area” to accommodate new town developments.

“If you look at the urban center, it is already crowded, so it is either you expand outside the city center, or you reclaim area, wherein you can have a planned development center just like what they have in Taguig. So this is another Taguig in Davao,” he said.

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said Duterte asked the project developer not to remove the families living near the proposed site from their communities.

“The mayor said they should not be removed,” he said.

Dayanghirang added they might consider pursuing a tenement housing for affected families that will still rise within their communities near the location of reclamation project in Agdao and Ecoland areas.

Section 4.2.b of the JVA adds that the project development (Mega Harbour) will “identify and provide relocation for the affected residents at the commencement of the project” and “provide funds for the onside redevelopment or for the relocation of the informal settlers in the project site.”

Dayanghirang said that this project, which is within the coastline of the city, is positioned to take in industrial park, commercial complex, and residential lots and houses.

Also, the agreement states that the city government will apply to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) “for conversion of the reclaimed land into a Special Economic Zone to avail of the tax incentives.”