By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 12, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) is set to bid out the P54.5 billion reclamation project along Manila Bay amid the joint venture entered into by the Pasay City government and SM Land Inc.
PRA said in a statement, the Pasay City government and SM Land have yet to submit the required validating opinion from either the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the proposed project.
“An opinion from either of the two agencies is not a regular requirement but was required otherwise due to the numerous issues raised by other challengers on the bidding process conducted by Pasay City,” the PRA said.
While the PRA acknowledges that it received a project proposal from the City of Pasay to reclaim 300 hectares of land, the PRA has not yet started its regular approval process as it first exercised extraordinary diligence by requiring Pasay City to secure the validating opinion.
“Assuming the DOJ or the DILG issues a legal opinion in favor of Pasay City, only then shall the process commence,” it added.
According to PRA, the proposal submitted by the Pasay City government and SM Land would have to undergo the five-stage approval process involving the technical evaluation by PRA and an approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Aquino.
President Aquino has issued EO 146 subjecting all reclamation projects including the 300-hectare Pasay City reclamation project to a public bidding.
“If it gets through these two major stages, the proposal will have to undergo a competitive bidding process to be undertaken by the PRA,” the agency added.
It pointed out that the power to award reclamation projects is lodged with the national government through the President of the Philippines.
Severo Madrona Jr., chief legal officer and vice chairman of the public private partnership – selection committee (PPP-SC) of the Pasay City government, said the city government would comply with the requirements of the PRA.
“We will comply with the requirements imposed by PRA,” Madrona said in text message.
Last Dec. 23, the proposed joint venture between the Pasay City government and SM Land for the P54.5 billion reclamation project finally got the green light from the Pasay City Council.