Mandaue’s P20B recla project in PERIL after group makes claim

·4 min read

DM WENCESLAO and Associates (DMWAI), through its subsidiary Mandaue Land Consortium, has asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop the implementation of a reclamation project in Mandaue City.

In a press statement sent to SunStar Cebu on June 7, DMWAI, represented by lawyers Joseph Sagandoy Jr. and Justine Lamarca, said it filed a petition, part of which is an injunction, on the implementation of the reclamation project that was voided years earlier by the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC).

DMWAI said the reclamation area it was referring to is the 101-hectare site along the Mactan Channel near the Marcelo Fernan Bridge where the P20 billion Global City Mandaue project will be constructed.

The construction of Global City Mandaue was announced by the Mandaue City Government on May 12, 2022. It was seen as the first waterfront city in Cebu.

The project is a partnership between the Mandaue City Government, private corporation Global City Mandaue Corp. and the Philippine Reclamation Authority, with the support of the Cebu Provincial Government.

DMWAI said if the CA grants its petition, the Global City Mandaue project would have to be stopped, as it stressed that the reclamation project was awarded to them years ago.

A Mandaue City official, however, said DMWAI’s claim was invalid.

Decade ago

DMWAI said the CIAC had voided the project of the consortium led by Harbour Centre because it was already granted more than a decade earlier to DMWAI.

The Pasig City court, however, favored the Harbour Centre consortium as it was not informed about the DMWAI project, “although the City Government, under a new mayor, was impleaded,” said the Wenceslao group.

It added that the Pasig court issued its decision in December 2020, and DMWAI only learned about it in November 2021.

“The Mandaue City Government, then under then Mayor Thadeo Ouano, awarded the project to Wenceslao in 2001 after a public bidding. In May 2010, Jonas Cortes became the city mayor and refused to honor the award to the Wenceslao group, claiming there was no consultation with the Philippine Reclamation Authority and approval of the president,” the group said in an email to SunStar.

It added that it was Cortes who negotiated and signed a new reclamation contract in 2014 with the Harbour Centre group.

“The Wenceslao group filed an arbitration case with the CIAC to declare the validity of its contract and to compel the City to implement its project, and won. CIAC issued a writ of execution in 2018. But in June 2020, a sub-contractor of the Harbour Centre group asked the Pasig court for the enforcement of its contract under the voided project,” it added.

DMWAI also said the Mandaue City Government, in its filings, “never mentioned the prior Wenceslao project and the CIAC decision, keeping the court in the dark and preventing the Wenceslao group from intervening.”

“The project could not proceed until the national government had cleared the areas of illegal claimants, a process that is still under way,” it said.

‘Invalid’

The Mandaue City Government said, though, that DMWAI’s claim against the City’s rights over the 101-hectare reclamation area is invalid and has not reached the court.

Lawyer Nenita Ceniza-Layese, city legal office head, said Wednesday, June 22, 2022, that DMWAI’s assertion over the 101-hectare property does not have enough legal documents.

She said they had not received a petition for an injunction filed by the Wenceslao group.

She added that DMWAI only has a writ of execution from CIAC in 2018 to declare its contract validity and compel the Mandaue City to implement its project, which she said was not granted by the court.

But DMWAI failed to acquire a permit from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to reclaim the 101-hectare area and from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to be granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), she added.

An ECC is an essential requirement to allow a proposed project to proceed to the next stage of planning and acquire approvals from other government agencies and local government units for the project implementation.

“Global City Corp. has secured permits from the PRA and DENR. In fact, during the signing of their contract, PRA and DENR heads were there,” said Ceniza-Layese.

Groundbreaking

Global City Mandaue Corp., meanwhile, had already signed a memorandum of agreement with the Mandaue City Government and PRA and had its groundbreaking ceremony for the Global City Mandaue project on May 12 at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Sheila Romero, Global City Mandaue chairperson and chief executive officer, said they aim to start the reclamation of the project by September this year.

But DMWAI reiterated that if CA grants its petition, the Global City Mandaue project would have to be stopped.

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Global City Mandaue Corp. for comment, but it has not replied as of press time.

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