Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte chose human and environment protection over and above huge development when she let go of the P39 billion Mega Harbour reclamation project touted to become the vehicle towards a Global Davao City. Her decision to terminate the project came as a surprise as it was his father then mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte who signed the joint venture agreement (JVA) with the project proponent in June 21, 2016 at the time when he was already addressed as president-elect. The termination however came after a thorough review of the project particularly on the agreement’s provisions by the National Economic Development Authority as per request of the mayor. Aside from this, the city government thru the mayor also proposed some amendments on the agreement particularly on the issue of sharing.
What has happened to the proposed amendments was unknown until the termination of the project. The announcement came together with an assurance from the mayor that the city government is ready to answer for the legal implications of its decision. At this point, Mega Harbour people opted to remain silent claiming they have yet to receive the letter of the mayor signifying the city’s intention to thrash the project. Certainly, this would be a big blow to the project proponent as they have already started with permit processing works and has even targeted to start the project this year. The company was visibly elated over the project because of its commercial viability and the folds of revenues to rake upon completion.
Fortunately, the city had a diligent mayor who is up on scrutinizing every single detail of the project especially that it was a mega project envisioned to change Davao into what the project proponent described as an “alpha global city.” The review of the project was prompted by the mayor as she considers not a joke the land reclamation works making the city bigger by about 200 hectares and the project cost. Practically the environment will be disturbed by the project as well as thousands of families to be displaced. The mayor did not believe hook line and sinker Mega Harbour’s promise there will be no displacement or relocation of affected residents to happen even with such a vast project. Definitely, the mayor with the help of NEDA found some or many loopholes in the project that warrant its termination. Whatever are those, sensibly, it is to the prejudice of affected families, city government and most especially of the environment. Most often, businessmen are so good in making their project offers so appealing. But not for Sara who is also a Duterte at the helm of city hall; those appealing offers from Mega Harbour were a total thumbs down for her.