Council questions firm’s lack of written approval
Mechelle P. Florita/NSA (The Freeman) - January 8, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama reportedly allowed a construction company to freely occupy Block 27 at the North Reclamation Area without a written approval.

Yesterday, the City Council, during an executive session, questioned the City Legal Office and the W.T Construction Inc. regarding the batching plant established at Block 27.

Lawyer Alora Mae Tambasen of W.T Construction explained that January last year, the Department of Public Works and Highways, through its regional director Ador Canlas, wrote a letter to Rama asking him on behalf of the company to have them occupy the lot for DPWH’s project to rehabilitate Serging Osmeña Boulevard.

Canlas added in the letter that the project is essential as it will help ease the traffic congestion in the area and the rehabilitated road will be used in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Tambasen said that in April 2014, the company also sent a letter of undertaking to Rama with regards to the project. The letter, she said, was a sign of “unilateral activity” between the parties.

“Our company is very much mindful of the utilization of the vacant lot owned by the City of Cebu for its use will dramatically reduce the traffic congestion in the area owing to the fact that the road is heavily used by vehicles coming from the North to the South of Cebu and vice versa,” said Willy Te, vice president of WT Construction, Inc.

However, during the executive session yesterday, Tambasen said Rama did not give any official letter of approval agreeing to the free use of the lot. According to her, Rama, during a joint conference last March, approved it only verbally.

When asked by the City Council of their move should Rama deny the verbal approval, Tambasen just said they trust the mayor’s words.

City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo also did not confirm if there was a written approval on the matter, although he confirmed that there was a joint conference.

Nonato Paylado of DPWH-7 defended that even with the lack of a written approval from Rama, it was clear during the series of meetings that they have the mayor’s go signal. 

For  Councilor Alvin Dizon, having the lot occupied for free is disadvantageous to the city government.

Councilor Sisinio Andales shared the same sentiments, saying: “Why is it that it should be free? WT benefited out of the project.”

However, Castillo emphasized that the city would benefit from DPWH’s project since this is made within the jurisdiction of the city.

The batching plant was constructed in the area first quarter of last year. Based on the letter of the company to Rama, they asked to utilize the lot for less than a year. The total contract cost of the project with the company is P289 million.  —(FREEMAN)

ADOR CANLAS ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION CEBU CITY MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA CITY CITY COUNCIL CITY LEGAL OFFICE AND THE W CITY LEGAL OFFICER JERONE CASTILLO CITY OF CEBU RAMA TAMBASEN
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