Restaurant causing rift between Sitoys
AJ de la Torre (The Freeman) - November 11, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A conflict is apparently brewing between Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy and his son Cebu Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy over a structure allegedly built within the marine sanctuary off the town’s Hilutungan Island.

In a privilege speech during their session yesterday, PB Member Sitoy tackled the issue on a floating restaurant off Hilutungan, which was discussed for the second time.

PB Member Sitoy said he has asked Hei Yang Sports Inc. representatives to appear before the PB since the company was reportedly the one behind the restaurant.

He especially mentioned after news reports quoted his father as saying that concerns over the restaurant should have been raised with him and not with the PB considering that the structure was built within his jurisdiction.

Mayor Sitoy also said that he was confused why he was not invited to the PB session.

The younger Sitoy, though, likened the situation to a basketball game where one would interview first the coaches and the players to get insights about the game, not directly and necessarily from the team owner.

“To accuse the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of harassment given our invitation, which was virtually snubbed several times, is most unfair and unjust. I am referring to the reaction of a local executive to our processes here in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan…” he added.

Hei Yang Sports Inc. officials still have not showed up in PB sessions while three different DENR-7 representatives have presented their side on the matter.

The DENR officials, however, told the PB that they have not yet read the provincial ordinance that covers the use of marine sanctuaries in Cebu.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, on the other hand, pointed out that the conflict should be an “eye opener” since it would be hard for DENR-7 to be properly guided in issuing ECCs if it is without knowledge about the province’s laws.

However, Francis Philip Escalante, a DENR-Environmental Management Bureau environmental management specialist, said one of their team’s report showed the structures were already there prior to the issuance of an ECC.

He said the municipality of Cordova was penalized P27,500 for the violation, which the LGU settled already, thus the issuance of an ECC on April 10, 2014.

Escalante, who is from a DENR-7 division that monitors projects issued with ECCs, said they are set to inspect the site today. He said they usually conduct inspections six months after the ECC is issued.

Escalante further detailed that among the requirements for an ECC is a zoning certification from the LGU, a site development plan that states the project’s components, and proof of ownership of the lot.

PB Member Sitoy said he does not understand the zoning certificate issued by the municipal government since this cannot be done for marine sanctuaries.

The older Sitoy, though, said in an earlier interview that the contested restaurant is not within the sanctuary, just beside it.

PB Member Sitoy said the matter should go through the DENR since the current problem is now on the garbage of the establishment that may go to the sanctuary and should not lead to other issues, like personal concerns and politics.

PB Member Sitoy was referring to his father’s statement that he would not support him son in the coming elections. PB Member Sitoy is on his third and last term and is allegedly seeking the mayoralty post of Cordova.

PB Member Sitoy said that while he lives in the same house with his father, the issue has not been discussed recently since he was always travelling and that he also does not see the point that they should talk about the matter. 

“I don’t think na kinahanglan storyaan. It’s a (provincial) ordinance man gud. Wala man mi naabot sa point na apil ang munisipyo,” he said.

“Di ko kinahanglan hadlokon. I will not be duped. Dili sad ko kinahanglan moluhod aron modaug sa sunod election. Ako lang, og unsay angay buhaton buhaton nato, dili kay I need support of somebody who will kill me or massacre me during elections,” he added.  (FREEMAN)


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