The PHP300-billion development project of the SM-Ayala consortium at the South Road Properties (SRP) here is expected to generate about 2 million jobs, a city councilor said.
Lawyer Raymund Alvin Garcia, majority floor leader of the Cebu City Council, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview that the project is inevitable after the local lawmakers approved the development plan.
He said SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and Ayala Land, Inc. have been cleared to proceed with the development of the 26-hectare portion of the SRP, which includes the horizontal works, drainage, and road network systems.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama, the City Council’s presiding officer, was quoted in a radio report as saying on Wednesday that he had to break a tie during the voting as eight councilors voted in favor of granting the “go signal” on the project, while the other eight wanted to scrap the measure.
The permit was deemed approved after Rama voted in favor of granting the permit.
Councilor Philip Zafra, who authored the resolution asking to grant the development permit, said the city dads would still meet with the consortium during the “Citizen’s Hour” to shed light on matters involving the project. He said the date has yet to be announced.
Zafra filed the measure after the Cebu City Zoning Board recommended the approval of the consortium’s development plan last August 20.
One of the councilors who voted “no”, Joy Augustus Young, questioned the consortium agreement through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between SM and Ayala because it was not notarized.
The opposition councilors proposed to defer the measure pending submission of a notarized copy of the MOA to the council members.
However, Zafra said the two parties agreed to pool together in implementing the project by signing the document they submitted to the Council.
Although the councilors voted to grant the development permit, Garcia said they would still require SM and Ayala to notarize their MOA and submit a notarized copy to them.
The property that SM and Ayala seek to develop at the SRP is part of the 45.2-hectare lot of the reclamation area that they bought in 2014. Rama, who was then mayor of this city, approved the sale.
However, lawyer Romulo Torres assailed the sale before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Torres then elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (CA) after the RTC dismissed it.
In May, the 18th Division of the CA dismissed Torres’ petition and affirmed the RTC decision confirming the PHP16.7-billion sale of the SRP property to the consortium as valid.
Mayor Edgardo Labella highlighted the project of the consortium in a media interview, saying it would become a major source of employment among the Cebuanos.
“The project of the SM-Ayala consortium will generate jobs for our constituents. I am happy about the development,” he said.
SRP project manager, lawyer Joey Daluz, said a technical working group (TWG) has been formed to study the impact of the project on traffic at the Cebu South Coastal Road.
“We will study the impact. Representatives (of) Ayala, SM, Universal Hotels and Resorts, Inc., the Bus Rapid Transit proponents, and other stakeholders will meet with the TWG for the planning,” he added.
Daluz said he would ask Labella to make representations with the national government in seeking funds for traffic systems and infrastructure projects that are seen to address congestion along the coastal road. (PNA)