Cebu News

Mayor Rama not backing down vs. CPA: Fight continues

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol, Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is not backing down in the battle against the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) on the issue of ownership of the Compania Maritima, saying that the situation is “abominable.”

In a press conference yesterday at the Cebu City Hall, Rama said his government will continue to fight for the rightful claims of the Compania Maritima.

“We fight for heritage, we fight for culture, we fight for the environment, and we will remain to fight, and we will fight them,” said Rama.

Rama also said that CPA has been spearheading illegal docking activities where an alleged unpermitted speedboat and a barge have allegedly illegally docked in the area.

He added he condemned that there were “other acts being boldly” practiced in the area.

“Mao ng I really have found the situation there, abominable,” said the mayor.

Rama has claimed that the building in the area is being ‘abandoned’ and was left to rot.

Maritima monitoring

In line with this, Rama has designated the Head of the Office of the Building Official (OBO), Architect Florante Catalan, to take over the monitoring of the overall welfare of Compania Maritima.

“Klaro man kaayo na dinha, wala pa tung koral. Nganong na ingon naman na. Kami gahatag og authority dira, hangtod welcome Cebu City, di naman makit-an kay gibutangan og ali.  Unsa man na? Kinsa man gyud hawod ani?  Kinsa man gyuy utok ani? who are the people behind this?” Rama added.

He also said the CPA has invaded a territory that belongs to the people and the Republic of the Philippines.

Rama has also sternly said that the government will not be sitting what belongs to the government under the ‘rule of the law.’

The Regional Trial Court has earlier ruled in favor of the CPA, which filed a complaint representing the Republic of the Philippines against the Cebu City Government, on the issue of the ownership of the Compania Maritima.

In a 22-page decision dated June 5, 2023, the court affirmed that the Compania Maritima premises is situated within the Baseport of Cebu, as defined under Executive Order No. 448, s. 1975, and that it belongs to the Republic of the Philippines, through the CPA.

The court further declared that the CPA, as the Republic’s trustee, should be able to exercise its functions within the property, subject to both national and local laws, statutes, and regulations, free from any form of harassment from the defendants.

CPA’s plan

According to Rama, the CPA is allegedly planning to construct a 20-story building in the area without formally applying for permits from the city government.

To fully look into the bottom of this, the mayor will be directing the City legal will be directed to take the appropriate actions that they will be making to address this.

“We have a very strong position,” said Rama referring to the legal grounds of the government on the ownership claims.

DOTr intervention

Rama, in the same press conference, wants a face-to-face meeting with the CPA, together with no less than Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, to settle everything between them.

Rama said he already called up Bautista even before the latest issue on the illegal fencing done by CPA’s contractor along the SRP boulevard had been exposed earlier.

The fencing was made accordingly in preparation for the port expansion.

Though the CPA has already voluntarily removed the fence made of galvanized iron sheets, the city’s Office of the Building Office remains firm to have them pay the corresponding penalties for their violation.

Rama said he requested the Office of Sec. Bautista to meet with CPA this October 5 but is yet to know whether the said date is already a go.

“I’m a decent person, before this thing happened, I already called Secretary Jaime Bautista (to which CPA is under) to take the cudgel so that CPA will be there, then Cebu City,” said Rama.

He is also expecting Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia to be with him during the meeting, being the chairman of the Cultural and Historic Affairs Commission (CHAC), along with City Administrator Collin Rosell, City Planner Archt. Yumi Espina and the mayor’s eldest son, lawyer Mikel Rama, if he’s available.

Rama said he also wished Megawide to join.  The city government has a partnership agreement with Megawide in the Carbon Market redevelopment, that is also affected by the actions taken by CPA over the area in Campania Maritima.

Rama said he wants Bautista himself to hear both sides.

“So we can have a face-to-face in the office of Secretary Bautista…For them to see. Para makita ang katag!” added Rama.

During the ground-breaking ceremony of the Cebu BRT project late February of this year, Bautista told The FREEMAN that he will take up the matter concerning the CPA and the city government when he meets them. — (FREEMAN)

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