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Realty firm finishes construction of six water-impounding ponds

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] July 25, 2008
By MALOU M. MOZO

To comply with Cebu mayor’s condition for permit reinstatement

CEBU CITY — Real estate developer Landco Pacific Corp. (Landco) reported last Wednesday the completion of six water-impounding ponds, which is one of the conditions set by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to avoid landslide.

The impounding ponds, which have a total capacity of more than 10,000 cubic meters of water, was among the mitigating measures imposed by the mayor for the reinstatement of the development permit of Monterrazas de Cebu, Landco’s first high-end residential development in the city.

The project — which covers 210 hectares in the upland portions of Barangays Guadalupe, Tisa, Labangon and Sapangdaku in Cebu City—was blamed for the landslide that hit Sitio Dakit, Barangay Guadalupe in April, this year.

The disaster prompted City Hall to suspend the company’s development permit.

"The company has already made substantial compliance with the order for the construction of the detention ponds. We are ready for the mayor’s ocular inspection next week," said Zenaida P. Quibranza, Landco operations manager.

She told reporters the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been monitoring the development of the project and is "happy with the compliance."

"We will proceed with the other developments once the TRO (temporary restraining order) is lifted," Quibranza said.

To assure the city government of its commitment to abide by the environmental regulations, Landco finished the construction of the six water-impounding ponds that cost some R20 million.

In addition, the company reported that the construction of the 200-meter retaining walls is 60 percent completed. With the help of a contractor, the company flew in 10 Ifugaos who did most of the manual work.

Quibranza said the Ifugaos, who came all the way from Mountain Province, are noted for their remarkable ability to build sturdy slope-protection structures.

She said Landco is the first to employ the "coco-matting technology", which involves the use of coconut husks instead of cement to cover slopes and prevent erosion.

After the coco mats were set in place, tree seedlings were planted to the 300-meter slope to hold the soil.

Shella Sarmiento, Landco marketing manager for the Visayas and Mindanao, said that the revocation of the project’s permit did not affect the sales of lots at Monterrazas de Cebu.

At present, 50 percent of the lots located at the property’s peak and another 60 percent of lots in the Northridge — located in the middle of the project — have been sold.

For this month, most of the inquiries about the project were from balikbayans, said Sarmiento.

She noted that most of Cebu-based buyers paid in cash, saying this indicates an active real estate industry in the province.

Sarmiento said though that Landco is mulling to increase lot prices by 15 to 20 percent in the next two to three months to cope with the present economic condition.
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