Cebu News

CPA, Cebu City declare truce

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
CPA, Cebu City declare truce
This is expected to pave the way for the development of the long-disputed Compaña Maritima area, including the operation of the Carbon Market Redevelopment Project’s Puso Village and mechanized parking.

CEBU, Philippines — Less than a month after the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) sued Mayor Michael Rama for alleged abuse of authority, the agency and the Cebu City government have come to truce.

This is expected to pave the way for the development of the long-disputed Compaña Maritima area, including the operation of the Carbon Market Redevelopment Project’s Puso Village and mechanized parking.

This came after Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Garcia met with CPA officials led by General Manager Francisco Comendador III late Friday afternoon to discuss plans concerning properties that had been disputed earlier.

Following that meeting, the CPA is expecting a proposal from the city government; once it is finalized, it will be presented to the CPA Governing Board and the Cebu Port Commission for review and approval.

Garcia, on the other hand, said the city could adopt the use of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), or Compromise Agreement concerning this matter.

Garcia and Comendador will then need authority from the Cebu City Council and the CPA Board, respectively, to sign the document, which Garcia hoped could be done in June.

After that, the two parties would have to submit the agreement to the court for its approval, since the property is under court injunction.

“Pero I can see this happening in maybe three months — the entire thing will be operational already,” Garcia said.

Early last year, Garcia delivered a privilege speech to express his frustrations that the Compaña Maritima had gradually returned to its ugly condition after the City Government-initiated development was temporarily stopped, as CPA asserted its rights over the said property.

As a lawyer and fully aware of the sub judice rule, Garcia was careful not to discuss the merits of the ongoing legal dispute over the ownership of the property, only sharing what he felt and knew about the issue in his capacity as chairman of both the Cebu City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission and of the Waterfront Development Commission.

Garcia’s had lamented the wasted opportunities, as the Pusó Village, among others, was “strategic component of the development in this area and would house Best-of-Cebu products and services.”

Early this year, Rama got some assurance of support from Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista concerning the development of the Compaña Maritima and the area around it during the opening of the Plaza sa Katawhan at the South Road Properties.

Despite that, however, the relationship between the Cebu City Government and the CPA worsened, especially when the City, led by the Office of the Building Official (OBO) enforced last April 1 a cease-and-desist order against CPA’s baseport expansion project at the back of the old Aduana Building (former Malacan~ang sa Sugbo and currently the National Museum of the Philippines-Cebu), over its lack of a business permit.

Last April 29, CPA filed a complaint against Rama for alleged oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty and abuse of authority, especially the city removed CPA’s fence and construction materials.

With Rama serving a six-month preventive suspension along with seven city officers imposed by the Ombudsman, Garcia, as acting mayor, had announced that he would try a different tact, this time, by employing diplomacy with CPA and other government agencies and officials at odds with Rama.

Last Wednesday, the City Council, in its regular session, granted Garcia the authority to meet with Comendador to discuss plans for the Puso Village, Compania Maritima, and the mechanical parking.

“Mao na ni. This is the start of the collaboration, cooperation, coordination between the City of Cebu and the Cebu Port Authority,” Garcia said.

He and Comendador, along with Cebu2World Development, Inc. officials, also conducted last Friday an ocular visit of the Puso Village and the mechanical parking facility situated right by the Compan~a Maritima building near City Hall.

The Puso Village is expected to cater to 334 retail spaces and 138 spaces for food and beverage, while the mechanical parking has a capacity of 150 vehicles. Both projects have been put on hold due to a civil case between CPA and the City Government over ownership of the Compan~a Maritima building and its premises.

As reported by the City’s News & Information, an agreement is in the works between the City and the CPA to push for the opening and operation of the Puso Village and the mechanical parking facility.

In a Facebook post, Comendador, who was with CPA Commissioners Allan G. Alfon, Joselito O. Pedaria, and Leo B. Cañares when they visited City Hall Friday afternoon, thanked Garcia for meeting them.

He said their acceptance of the invitation to meet Garcia signifies their intention for peace and unity in Cebu.

“Kini among pag-anhi, nagpamatuod ni nga sukad pa sa sinugdanan, gusto jud mi og kalinaw unya panaghiusa sa atong One Cebu,” Comendador said.

“Hopefully, nga pinaagi niining sinugdanan nga panag-storya, pagbisita sa maong mga lugar, makab-ot nato ang kalinaw,” he added. — (FREEMAN)

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