Davao Chamber backs Mayor Duterte on junking of reclamation project

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/31 July) – The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) threw its support behind City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s decision to terminate the joint venture agreement for what could have been the biggest reclamation project in Mindanao.

Then mayor and now President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the agreement last year with Mega Harbour Port and Development Corporation.

DCCCII president Ronald Go told a press conference Monday that he believes the mayor considered traffic congestion, environmental impact and other problems the project may cause.

He said the private sector remains supportive of Duterte if she sees the big-ticket project is “counterproductive to the development of the city.”

He said the P40-billion 200-hectare Davao Coastline and Port Development Project will attract big trucks and worsen traffic conditions which the city’s development master plan aims to address.

Go added reclamation projects might obstruct the city’s major waterways.

He said terminating it will attract the right kind of investments that are in the best interest of the city.

Chinkie Pelino-Golle, acting executive director of Environment group Interface Development Interventions lauded the mayor’s decision.

“I am sure also that she has better plans for the development of the city that will consider the social issues and will ensure environmental sustainability,” she said.

The group expressed apprehensions over the project’s possible social and environmental implications.

“We have been apprehensive of this proposed project because of the social and environmental implications in which were not addressed in the committee hearings and content of the ordinance passed by the city council,” Golle said.

“After all she is the mayor of the city and she should decide for the people and for the future of this city. I believe she has studied this carefully and found valid reasons for her to decide like this. I trust her statement that her decision is for the benefit of the majority of the Dabawenyos,” she added.

On July 25, Duterte announced that she was terminating the business deal with the port developer.

The mayor said her decision was carefully reviewed and studied ”after weighing out the intentions of the project against its commercial viability, legal and social implications, and the project’s possible effects to the environment.”

She believes “Davao City can really move forward and answer the call of economic growth by implementing highly sustainable projects, both commercially and environmentally.”

“I assure you, all Dabawenyos, that in coming up with this decision, the paramount consideration has been your welfare and the future of Davao City,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)