A PRO-ENVIRONMENT group is questioning the planned 200-hectare reclamation for a port project to be undertaken by Mega Harbour Port in Davao City, saying no public consultations were conducted on it.
The group claims that residents of Isla Verde, where the mega port project will be undertaken, will be dislocated.
Ann Fuertes, executive director of Interface Development Interventions, an arm of the Ecowaste Coalition, said they only learned of the said project after its second reading by the city council for the approval of the project.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier admitted that businessman Reghis Romero II had spoken to him about the project when he was still mayor of Davao City.
Romero is reportedly pushing for the Davao Coastline and Port Development Project, which involves the reclamation of 200 hectares of offshore area spanning two districts there.
The mega port will cost about P40 billion, to be financed by Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc., a new firm which Romero reportedly formed to handle the project.
Fuertes said that their group wanted to be given a chance to air their side before the council.
While the plan is to begin the project this year, Duterte had stressed in previous interviews that they had asked for an amendment to the presidential proclamation which declared Isla Verde a residential site.
The 123,201 square meters Isla Verde has a population of 13,398 and is covered by Presidential Proclamations 85 classifying it as a human settlement site.
Duterte has said that if the residents will agree to the project, they would be paid and relocated.
He also warned government agencies that charges will be filed against their officials, who could be dismissed from office if a single centavo in the project will be spent for corruption.
The city council approved the proposed ordinance on second reading on April 5, and it was submitted to the third and final reading.
Another unsettled issue is the sharing scheme between the developer and the city government for space within the reclaimed area covering the Sta. Ana Wharf to the Bucana area.
Mediamen tried to get a statement from the camp of Romero, but were not successful.
FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO