Davao’s mayor demands apology from Mega Harbour for calling her ‘reckless, callous’

Aug. 03, 2017

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte (Robby Joy D. Salveron/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines— Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor, Sara Duterte demanded an apology from port developer Mega Harbour Port and Development, Inc. for calling her “reckless, callous, and unethical” over the termination of the multi-billion coastline development project.

In a copy of the Mayor’s letter to Mega Harbour furnished to Davao Today, Thursday, Aug. 3 Mayor Duterte defended her cancellation of the Joint Venture Agreement for the P39-billion coastline project which was inked between the city and the developer on June 21, 2016. Signing on behalf of the city was the father of the incumbent mayor, then city mayor, now President Rodrigo Duterte.

“A careful review of my actions betrays your accusation that I have put your company in a “bad light” and “tarnished even blackened beyond repair, your reputation.” Nothing in my statement could also reflect that I subjected you to “immeasurable humiliation or ridiculed men and women from your company”,” Duterte said.
Duterte added she has carefully reviewed for a year the project that targeted to develop the 214-hectare of coastline from Barangay Agdao to Barangay Bucana. The cancelled project was supposed to hire some 10,000 workers, according to a city councilor.

Duterte also said this is not the first time that she came across the project responding to Mega Harbour president Engr. Victor S. Songco who said that the mayor “has not been directly involved.”

“Let me remind you, that sometime in 2011, I was the Mayor when your officers first presented this project to the City Government of Davao. I was the person who sat on the chair across your people who explained the project. This time, I am again the Mayor and I have no obligation to repeatedly sit down and listen to you. My option was to review all the documents that you have submitted to the City Government,” Duterte said.

She added she was surprised that Mega Harbour called her out as “a reckless, callous and unethical individual.”

“You should be the last person to speak about ethics if you write letters such as the one I received,” she said.

Duterte said she finds it “utterly fiddling” for the company to threaten her with a legal suit.

“You certainly do not have the right to tell me how and when I should do my job. I demand an apology,” she said.

‘Unfair, unreasonable’

The Mega Harbour lamented that the unilateral decision of the mayor was “unfair and unreasonable.”

In a letter dated July 27, two days after Mayor Duterte publicly announced through a statement that she is terminating the project.

“This is why we wonder why the mayor has to engage in this publicity when she has not been directly involved or has allowed to be comprehensively briefed on the project not only by Mega Harbour but should have joined the briefing with the NEDA Regional Infrastructure Development Committee and the Davao City Council. This is unfair and unreasonable,” said Songco in his letter to Duterte.

Songco said after the JVA was signed last year, “we wasted no time and immediately undertook to comply with the prescribed procedures, as well as additional requirements, imposed by the City Government of Davao in order to implement the Project.”

He said the Mega Harbour has begun implementing the initial phases of the project as reported in its letter updates on February 14 and March 6, 2017.

The Mega Harbour also said that the JVA is legally supported by the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Davao City through Resolution No. 02788-16 and Ordinance No. 0515-16.

Songco also said they have already presented the Project to the Regional Infrastructure Development Committee.

“We submitted additional documents. We agreed to an increase in the local government’s land share. We undertook to develop an area for about 4,000 informal settlers along coastal roads and redevelopment of coastal barangays (allocating P1.19 billion for redevelopment works, including roads and open spaces),” Songco’s letter points out.

He said they secured investments both capital and technical from various local and foreign companies, “in addition to investing and expending capital of our own, in order to finance and execute the P39-billion project.”

The Mega Harbour described Duterte’s decision as “mysterious” saying not only them but other prospective global investors who want to “contribute humanitarian efforts in Mindanao” are waiting for the mayor’s explanation. (davaotoday.com)

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