DAVAO City’s business community welcomed the city council’s move stopping the bidding for proposed P19-billion Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project being managed by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Center.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao opposed the PPP project through a resolution stopping the bidding because of “the irregular procedure as well as the various questions raised against the Sasa Port Modernization project now being bid out without prior consultation and express approval of the local government as provided for by the Local Government Code.”
“This unnecessary project was being forced upon Davao without the proper consultation. This resolution will now enable Davaoeños to contribute meaningfully toward defining the correct need and use of Sasa Port,” said Alexander Valoria, president of Anflocor Management and Investment Corp.
The project has been met by overwhelming reaction, concerns, apprehensions, questions and opposition from the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, consumers, informal settlers, labor unions and other affected sectors.
The City Council resolution cited Section 2 (c) of Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code, which provides that: “It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, non-governmental and people’s organizations, and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions.”
Section 27 of the same law also states that: “No project or program shall be implemented by government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Section 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained.”
Valoria said that the DOTC or the PPP Center did not conduct any prior consultation regarding the bidding for the port project. The City Council has not issued any resolution of approval or of no objection on this particular project until Tuesday’s resolution.
Businessmen also pointed out that there was no plan for break-bulk and bulk cargo, which is important for Davao City. Sasa Port is actually designed for break bulk cargo vessels, which is vital to the economy of Davao City.
About 500,000 metric tons of steel, wheat, fertilizer, motor vehicles, heavy equipment and other cargo not suitable for containers went through Sasa Port in 2014, according to Philippine Ports Authority (PPP) statistics.
The businessmen are also asking why there are no provisions for cruise vessels which are important in the tourism plans of Davao. They pointed out that the Department of Tourism (DOT) has identified Davao as a potential destination for cruise tourism.
Fearing traffic congestion being reported around the Port of Manila, Davaoeños warned that the proposed container terminal would worsen the traffic congestion north of Davao City.