• SM Land reclamation project questioned

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    THE Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has asked the city government of Pasay to explain the nature of the award that favored SM Land Inc. in connection with the P54.5-billion reclamation project.

    In a letter, Peter Anthony Abaya, PRA general manager and CEO, asked Mayor Antonino Calixto of Pasay City to secure a validating legal opinion from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the light of opposition from the Pasay City council.

    The Pasay City council had issued a resolution recalling the award to SM Land Inc. of the reclamation project for the 300 hectares off-shore and in-shore parts of Manila Bay.

    This also serves as the reply of the PRA to the letter earlier sent by Calixto and Pasay City Public-Private Partnership Selection Committee (PPP-SC) endorsing the joint venture agreement of the local government and SM.

    Abaya stressed that the PRA is not in a position to conduct a legal review of the Pasay City council resolution saying that this falls under the jurisdiction of either the DILG or the DOJ.

    “This is precisely why this Authority is requesting the city to secure a validating legal opinion form the said agencies which have oversight functions over LGUs [local government units],” he added.

    Abaya also said that the JVA cannot be referred to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) since it “does not have jurisdiction over LGUs as its mandate is to serve as legal counsel for government-owned and -controlled corporations [GOCCs].”

    Abaya cautioned the Pasay City government in dragging them in what it called a “intra-LGU” issue following the PPP-SC’s statement that the joint venture agreement was already reviewed by the PRA.

    He also questioned the contradicting statements of Pasay City PPP-SC in connection with the true owner of the project.

    He pointed out that the PPP-SC acknowledged the PRA as the owner of the project in their letter addressed to the authority.

    However, Abaya added that in the JVA, it was stated that the city government is the project owner while SM Land is the project developer.

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