Group urges Mayor Sara to probe into Davao port project

sara duterte

A day into the new administration, an environmental group called on presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, to look into a reclamation project approved by the city council, with controversial businessman Reghis Romero II.

Ann Fuertes, Executive Director for the Interface Development Interventions, arm of Ecowaste Coalition, said that they only knew of the said project only after the second reading of the city council. She said that they were not consulted about the project.

Romero is reportedly pushing for a three-year Davao City coastline and port development project, which involves the reclamation of 200 hectares of offshore area in two districts there.

The project will entail almost P40 billion, the financing of which will be covered by Mega Harbour Port and Development Inc., a new firm which Romero has formed to handle the project.

Fuertes said that they are asking that they be given a chance to represent before the council. “Yes we are aware if it and is calling for a comprehensive consultation because we didn’t about it until it after d 2nd reading at the City Council,” she said, adding that they are very much curious about the project proponent, being Romero.

According to reports, Romero’s track record of business failures, or his inability to finish the projects he has started, has hugged headlines.

During the Ramos administration, Romero’s firm, R-2 Builder, Inc., entered into a joint venture project with the National Housing Authority to transform the Smokey Mountain area in Tondo, Manila into a viable housing and commercial areas.

The agreement mandated R-2 Builders to finance all aspects of development, which included the construction of 2,992 temporary housing and 3,520 units of medium-rise housing and the creation of the industrial and commercial site within Smokey Mountain area.

Romero’s firm had failed to finance the Smokey Mountain project, leading to serious disagreements between R2-Builders and NHA. At the end, Romero was offering P5 billion to settle the two-decade old issue.

The Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC) has rejected Romero’s proposed compromise settlement because the offer of P5 billion was not half of the project cost.

Incidentally, the HGC is  a government-owned-and-controlled-corporation (GOCC) mandated to provide risk coverage or guarantees and tax/fiscal incentives to banks and financial institutions and investors granting housing development loans, credits, and home financing.

Romero was also involved involved in the controversial joint venture agreement between IBC 13 and RII Builders-Primestate Ventures Inc., one of his firms.

The Commission on Audit, in its 2012 official audit report, has concluded that the IBC 13 was disadvantageous to the government because of the low valuation of the 4.4 hectare prime property in Quezon City.

COA said the joint venture agreement had set the prime property prime property at P9,999 per square meter, when land prices in the area already cost P17,000 in 2009 to 2011.

Sen. Franklin Drilon was among those who questioned the deal, claiming it was “grossly disadvantageous” because, of the P728 million RII will pay IBC-13 only P278 million, would be received by the government.


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