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Pasay land deal frustrates ALI

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Nov. 30, 2013 at 12:04am [ manilastandardtoday.com ]

Ayala Land Inc., the biggest property developer, expressed dismay over the decision of Pasay City to award the 300-hectare reclamation project to SM Land Inc. of retail tycoon Henry Sy, despite concerns raised against the selection of the private sector proponent.

“It is unfortunate that Pasay City proceeded with the award despite numerous concerns expressed by various groups, particularly on the environmental impact of reclamation, and the questions we raised on the process that it followed,” Ayala Land chief operating officer Bobby Dy said in a statement.

“A project involving reclamation of such scale should be subjected to an open, public and competitive bidding, which encourages transparency,” he said. “Further, it would have been more prudent for Pasay City to have taken time to study and address critical issues prior to the award, especially now that various groups have also expressed concerns on reclamation.”

SM Land in a separate statement confirmed it received a notice of award and signed a joint venture agreement with Pasay City.

“We wish to stress that we are committed to abide by all government laws, regulations and processes,” SM Land said.

Ayala Land claimed its position was consistent with Executive Order 146, which required the approval of reclamation projects by the National Economic and Development Authority. The company said the order also required such projects to “undergo competitive public bidding consistent with the government’s thrust to promote transparency and competitiveness.”

“The 2013 Neda JV [joint venture] guidelines would have allowed for a higher level of transparency, attracted more bidders and therefore serve the best interests of Pasay City and the country,” Dy said.

“Since all reclamation projects will have to be approved by the Neda, we expect it to follow the said guidelines and consider the questions we earlier raised on the process. If various issues, including environmental concerns, are satisfactorily addressed, and an open and competitive bid is conducted for the project, ALI will participate,” he added.

The Pasay City government in a statement posted on its Web site said the procedure it followed in selecting a joint venture partner for the proposed reclamation of 300 hectares of foreshore lands in the city was legal and above board.

Pasay City legal counsel and bidding committee vice chairman Severo Madrona reiterated the city’s position that it followed the appropriate laws and regulations in connection with the unsolicited proposal of SM Land, adding the offer was subjected to “competitive or Swiss challenge.”
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