BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Foul language may have already drowned to death the proposed P39-Billion 200-hectare Davao Reclamation Project.
I do not expect Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to change her mind with the harsh language used by the proponent in responding to the mayor’s termination of the project, Davao City Council majority floor leader Bernie Al-ag said.
Duterte-Carpio last week announced she has terminated the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Davao City government and Mega Harbour involving reclamation of more than 200 hectares of the city’s coastline to be developed into an industrial, commercial and ports complex.
Mega Harbour responded to the termination with a letter in harsh language that raised the hackles of Duterte-Carpio.
For calling her “reckless, callous, and unethical,” Duterte-Carpio stood pat on her decision to cancel the JVA. She also demanded an apology from the company.
Duterte-Carpio unleashed her displeasure in a letter-response to Mega Harbour president Engineer Victor Songco.
“ What I did not expect from you is to call me out as a reckless, callous and unethical individual. You should be the last person to speak about ethics if you write letters such as the one I received,” Duterte-Carpio said in the letter to Songco.
You do not have the right to tell me how and when I should do my job. I demand an apology, said the mayor in the strongly-worded letter.
Duterte-Carpio earlier said that the Davao City government is ready to face any legal case that Mega Harbour may bring up in court in relation to her termination of the JVA.
The JVA was first approved by the 17th Davao City Council and then by then sitting Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, now President Duterte, in early 2016.
Guesting at the Radyo Ukay morning program of broadcaster Roy Geonzon on Saturday, Al-ag said that with the mayor’s frayed nerves against Mega Harbour, he did not expect Duterte-Carpio to make a turn-around on her decision.
Al-ag said he himself found Songco’s letter harsh on the mayor.
The majority floor leader, among members of the 17th City Council which approved the proposed project, said Mega Harbour, by being harsh on the mayor, lost a chance to redeem the multi-billion peso project.
He bared that the JVA has a 60-day “mediation clause” that allowed the two signing parties to discuss “conflicts” that may arise from the deal before its implementation.
Al-ag said that instead of responding with harsh language to the termination, Mega Harbour, citing the “medication clause” of the JVA, should have sought a meeting with Duterte-Carpio to present its case.
Al-ag said members of the current 18th City Council have yet to discuss the mayor’s decision to terminate the JVA. He said he personally respects the decision of the mayor.
“When we approved it, we saw that the project was good for the city,” he said.
Duterte-Carpio said she found flaws in the JVA related to social and environmental factors, and defended her action to terminate the JVA as “good for the city.”
Maybe she saw things in the contract that we in the city council did not see, said Al-ag. He said he is looking at city councilors and the mayor in a meeting to discuss the scuttled project.
No matter what, and even with Mega Harbour hinting it may file a case to contest Duterte-Carpio’s decision, Al-ag said he sees the project as doomed with the mayor holding the ace in her hands.
Although the JVA had been approved by then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the 17th City Council, the project cannot be implemented without a “Notice to Proceed” from Mayor Duterte-Carpio, said Al-ag.