The camp of presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday expressed alarm over the resignation of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Chairman Collete Canilao amid pending controversial projects of the center.
Canilao is set to step down from her post effective March 8 to address pressing family concerns.
She said her departure from the agency is not expected to have any effect on implementation of the PPP projects.
But Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman, questioned the timing of Canilao’s resignation.
“It is bewildering why Canilao followed the lead of Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Juan Santa Ana in giving up their top government posts,” Laviña said.
Santa Ana resigned on the eve of the Senate investigation on December 9, 2015 of a controversial project that again involved Manuel Roxas 2nd, former Transportation secretary and administration standard-bearer in the May 2016 elections, and his replacement Joseph Emilio Abaya.
“They must be abandoning ship, afraid to face the ire of the people of southern Philippines,” Laviña said.
“The resigned officials should still be held liable and accountable for their acts on this overpriced PPP project,” he added.
According to Laviña, the City Council of Davao passed a resolution on December 21, 2015 calling for the filing of charges against officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the PPP Center over the anomalous Sasa Port Modernization PPP in Davao City.
He said the resolution was an offshoot of the continuing open defiance and violation of the provisions of the Local Government Code on lack of prior information and consent by the local governments on national government projects.
“The DOTC and the PPP Center has been forcing down the throats of Davaoenos the modernization project that will have a total cost P18.9 billion,” Lavina noted.
He said the original cost of the project, according to a PPA study in 2012, was only P4 billion.
In comparison, Lavinia said the modern private container port in nearby Panabo City costs only over P5 billion.
“Various sectors are opposing the project including the Davao City Chamber of Commerce, tourism and environmental groups, consumers and informal settlers who will be displaced by the project,” he added.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE