Cebu seaport project hits snag

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Major project The construction of the proposed P1-billion international seaport project in San Fernando, Cebu was delayed after its contractor failed to comply with necessary requirements from various government offices. File Photo

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has advised the contractor of the proposed P1-billion international seaport in San Fernando, Cebu to comply first with all the requirements before proceeding with the project.

This developed as DENR-7 Regional Director Gilbert Gonzales denied the permit of port developer Ruben Feliciano to proceed with the reclamation project over his failure to comply with the recommendations of the Land Management Bureau (LMB) and other requirements.

Feliciano’s company Sangat Bay Development Corporation (SBDC) was awarded earlier this year the contract to develop the international seaport in Barangay Sangat, San Fernando.

However, a memorandum dated 8 June 2018 issued by DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna stated the processing of Feliciano’s application was suspended until his compliance with the LMB requirements.

“With the aforementioned directive, please be informed that this Office can no longer proceed with the processing of your application until compliance with the recommendations of the LMB Acting Director,” Gonzales letter to Feliciano said.

The recommendations include the submission of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) approved by the director of the Environmental Management Bureau.

The agency also wanted the contractor to submit the evaluation and concurrence of the Biodiversity Management Bureau.

Gonzales said the evaluation is necessary considering that the subject area is near the shoreline vegetated with mangroves and other marine species.

Likewise, the agency required the contractor to settle first its issues with fishermen in the concerned barangay.

This developed as San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya ordered the suspension of the project following complaints from fishermen.

The DENR also required the contractor to coordinate, consult or partner with the local government unit and the Philippine Reclamation Authority to initiate the project pursuant to the rules and regulations governing the issuance of permit over reclamation projects and special patents over reclaimed lands.

Reluya said the contractor implemented the port development even if it still has to comply with documentary requirements and has not submitted a permit from PRA.

She then issued an executive order to stop the project after finding out that Feliciano’s company is not the same company that had applied for clearance from the municipal government a few years back.

Feliciano’s original firm SBDC had broken ties with its partner company Melekon Contractors Inc., before he established a new firm named First Sangat Development Corporation which he is now using to transact in behalf of the port project.

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