DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The 18th City Council of Davao is inviting representatives from the Philippine Port Authority ‘s (PPA) main office to come before the council and explain in full context, the proposed plan for the P6-billion modernization project for the Sasa Wharf before the body approves its implementation.
Division Manager of PPA Davao Analee Aguila confirmed in today’s session that the recent developments on the project have not been endorsed to the council for appropriate actions yet and the PPA Davao does not have the documents that fully laid out appropriations, terms and design of the development plan.
“No national project will be implemented in the locality without the approval of the city government,” Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said citing a provision in the city code that the project has bypassed.
In defense, Aguila presented the endorsement letter of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio signed last December 2017 which requests the PPA to execute the second among two of their proposed alternatives for the Sasa Wharf Development Program.
“Last year we proposed two alternatives for development to the Office of the City Mayor Sara (Duterte-Carpio,” Aguila uttered.
The first project scheme covered the upgrade of the wharf to accommodate Panamax vessels, while the recommended course of action features the construction of the wharf to accommodate post-Panamax vessels with the hopes of catering to more cargos and vessels.
The matter also turned into a question of transparency when the PPA Davao spokesperson could not provide the particulars about the execution of the scheme as the council asked.
Aguila explained that the project was initiated by the central office and is nationally funded thus, PPA Davao is just facilitating and endorsing the plan.
The endorsed modernization plan has three phases, with the first phase to cost about P2 billion, and it would upgrade the general cargo berth and install a rail-mounted gantry crane in the wharf.
However, Aguila failed to give out the specifics on the two other phases as they have yet received the details from the head office.
“They (the central office) are the ones with terms and design,” Aquila exclaimed.
As a result, concerns of corruption were raised as the council recalled how the modernization was rejected during the previous Aquino administration for issues on overpricing.
The council said it sees the necessity of the project ”since the wharf has been deemed critical to the city’s aim of becoming the center of business and trade”. However, the council will cease to give its go signal unless the project will be fully disclosed.
The body will be sending out formal requests for representatives from the main office of the PPA to stand as resource person in the next session.(davaotoday.com)