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No decision yet on Pasay reclamation issues

November 6, 2013 8:10 pm [ ]

THE Pasay City government has deferred the issuance of its decision on the “critical issues” raised by various parties interested in the reclamation of 300 hectares of land from Manila Bay.

Jonathan Malaya, Pasay City government spokesman, said the Public-Private Partnership Selection Committee (PPPSC) decided to defer the issuance of the decisions, because the issues raised have not been settled yet.

“The issues raised by the bidders are complex and the committee needs enough time to study and come up with its decisions,” Malaya told The Manila Times in an interview.

He said that the issues raised by some bidders were just procedural, which include what applicable laws should govern the project, the awards process, and the period to submit a counterproposal.

Property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) earlier refused to submit a counterproposal to the SM Group’s P54.5-billion reclamation plan, as it urged the local government to resolve “critical issues” on the matter.

Bernard Vincent Dy, ALI chief operating officer, asked Mayor Antonino Calixto of Pasay City to address questions hounding the project to reclaim 300 hectares of land from Manila Bay, before proceeding with the bid process and awarding the project to any party.

Although he acknowledged the Pasay City government’s decision to adopt the 2008 National Economic and Development Authority Joint Venture Guidelines, Dy stressed that the November 4 deadline for the submission of competing bids does not comply with the newer 2013 NEDA JV Guidelines which took effect just last May. The new NEDA guidelines give interested parties 120 calendar days to submit their proposal.

ALI raised these issues after the city government on October 29 denied its request for a 60-day extension to the November 4 deadline for the submission of a counterproposal, citing the 2008 NEDA JV Guidelines.

Malaya clarified that ALI did not totally withdraw from the project, but just wanted to settle first the issues it raised before submitting its counterproposal.

ALI also cited a paid advertisement of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) published on November 1, “where it made it clear that no approval has been given for the Pasay reclamation project.”

But Calixto clarified that the proposed 300-hectare reclamation project of the city government will be submitted to the PRA for approval.

In a letter to PRA general manager Peter Anthony Abaya dated November 4, Calixto informed the government agency that, “We have initiated a process to select a capable joint venture partner to undertake the proposed reclamation project subject to your approval.”

Calixto said that after the competitive challenge, the Pasay City government will formally submit the project for PRA approval, pursuant to the rules and to ensure consistency with the terms, location and planned uses of the national government.”

The mayor added that the Pasay City government shall abide and comply with all the requirements and specifications that the PRA may impose in the exercise of its regulatory functions.

He also confirmed that the city government has considered the official pronouncement of the PRA to reclaim 300 hectares of offshore and foreshore land in Pasay City, which will be used as the site of the proposed national government center which was the subject of the PRA’s letter dated August 22.

Calixto assured PRA that the city’s project and that of PRA are compatible.

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