AN ALLIANCE of Carbon market vendors, stakeholders, and residents turned to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to stop the ongoing redevelopment project in Carbon Public Market.
The group has filed a petition to nullify the joint venture agreement (JVA) entered into by the Cebu City Government and Megawide Construction Corp.
The group also sought a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction and writ of mandamus.
Carbonhanong Alyansa Alang sa Bahandianong Ogma sa mga Nanginabuhi (Carbon Alliance) chairperson Anna Marie Lariosa said the petition was filed before the RTC on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.
The petitioners include the Carbon Alliance; Movement Against Carbon Market Privatization; Sanlakas party-list organization; Akbayan party-list organization; QUEBVABEI vendors association; Bato Ermita Community and Neighborhood Association Inc.; Wangyu Mambaling Homeowners’ Association; Ermita Fisher Folks Association; Suba Women’s Organization; Cebu Urban Poor Women’s League; Panaghugpong sa mga Kabus nga Tagadakbayan; Pasil Women’s Organization; Proper Ermita Homeowners’ Association; and several taxpayers and consumers and individual stall owners.
The petition was filed against Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Vice Mayor Michael Rama, City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. (chairman of the joint venture selection committee), City Legal Officer Rey Gealon, City Treasurer Mare Vae Reyes, City Planning and Development Officer Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez, Budget Officer Marietta Gumia, City Assessor Noel Wenceslao, as well as Louie Ferrer and Edgar Saavedra of Megawide Construction Corp., and the Cebu2World Development Inc.
The petitioners specified these points that they deemed illegal:
Only more than one hectare of lot belongs to the City Government, thus, it is beyond the City’s dominion and authority to invest in a long-term contract. (The lots in Blocks 3, 4 and 6 that are included in the Carbon redevelopment are reportedly owned by the National Government) ;
Megawide failed to submit a complete proposal on the JVA. Neither does it have the required financial standing on its own to pursue the project, nor does not have a track record of the project it envisioned.
Cebu City failed to evaluate thoroughly the unsolicited proposal and to conduct detailed negotiations.
The councilors who voted for the JVA admitted to not reading the entirety of the contract.
Defendants failed to conduct transparent and competitive public bidding and mandatory public consultation and hearing.
There is no notification to and clearance from the Philippine Competition Commission. The 50-year term is excessive and unprecedented. and
Defendants failed to enact an ordinance to approve and authorize the JVA and the component projects and activities.
Rama, in an interview, said it is unfortunate that this matter has reached the court.
While Rama found the redevelopment project “a wonderful project,” he said it would have been better if all the concerns were addressed before the groundbreaking had taken place.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held last March 24.
Megawide, in a statement, said it “will respond to the petition in due course and in the appropriate venues” and “reiterated that it has complied with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations in relation to the Project.”
Casas, in a statement sent to the media, said “The JVSC evaluated the Carbon development project thoroughly and objectively, taking into consideration the best interest of the City Government, the vendors and the public in general.” (JJL)