CPRA endorses Cordova project

Takes step to settle environmental issues 

Environmental issues involving the country’s biggest reclamation project in Cordova town will be addressed in due time.The Cebu Provincial Reclamation Authority (CPRA) endorsed the 1,500-hectare reclamation project to the Provincial Board (PB) in their meeting last June 1 at the Capitol.

The Php 138 billion total estimated project cost will be financed by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and the municipality of Cordova in joint venture agreement (JVA).  At least 49 percent of the reclaimed land will be developed for commerce.

Governor Hilario Davide III, who chairs the CPRA, said the PB will also endorse the matter to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, and PB Members Arleigh Sitoy and Thadeo Ouano were present during the CPRA meeting.

The officials claimed that any contention regarding the project’s legality is premature since they are still on the process on getting approval from the national government.Certain groups questioned the legality of the reclamation and claimed that the fishermen in Cordova opposed the project because it will destroy their livelihood.

On the other hand, Governor Davide believed that the constituents of Cordova including the fisher folk were consulted before the town agreed to the proposed project.Mayor Sitoy added that through their educational assistance program, the municipality is now paying the tuition fees of the fishermen’s children.

Ang kanang untang ni-object gikan sa gawas, maayo unta kung motabang ug bayad sa (It would be good if those who object the project will help pay) the tuition fee,” he said.

The JVA between SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and Cordova will still go through a lot of processes.

During the meeting, the CPRA endorsed the joint venture agreement for joint endorsement to the PRA. The National Economic Development Authority, chaired by President Benigno Aquino, will approve the project.

Mayor Sitoy explained that once the project passes through the PRA, that’s the time they will get necessary documents from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources including the procurement of Environmental Certificate of Compliance.

He also stated that SM plans to hire foreign experts to help on the scientific study on the project. He said they will follow the route that will yield the least possible damage to environment, a concept he borrowed from Environmental Economics.

PB Member Arleigh Sitoy said they needed the reclamation and development project to provide jobs to their constituents as well as help decongest the road network in Metro Cebu.

The government will own the remaining 51 percent of reclaimed land. Of the 51 percent, the Capitol agreed to take the minimum share of 10 percent or 150 hectares of land.