• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod authorized Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez to file an application with the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) for the reclamation of portions of the coastlines in Barangays 1, 2 and Banago, in Bacolod City.
The project is in line with the public-private partnership (PPP) for the People Selection Committee (P4) Resolution No. 1, series of 2023, and in compliance with Section 5 of Executive Order No. 74, series of 2019 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Resolution 1 of the PPP for the People Selection Committee states that the Bacolod Reclamation and Gateway Corporation (BRGC) was conferred an original proponent status pursuant to Section 17 of City Ordinance No. 854, series of 2018, the City of Bacolod and BRGC is proceeding with stage two-detailed negotiations as provided under C.O. 854, for its unsolicited proposal to reclaim and develop 621 hectares of coastline in Brgy. Banago, based on the recommendation of the PPP for the People Selection Committee (P4) in its Resolution dated Dec. 27, 2022.
It said that an authority for the city mayor to file an application with PRA to reclaim portions of the coastline in Brgy. Banago, in line with the public-private partnership with BRGC is part of the pre-qualification requirement of any application for reclamation projects as mandated by Executive Order No. 74, series of 2019 and its IRR.
A resolution from the SP authorizing the city mayor to file an application with the PRA is required in compliance with Section 5 of E.O. No. 7, series of 2019 IRR, it added.
Councilor Vladimir Gonzalez, whose family owns BRGC, inhibited himself during the passage of the resolution sponsored by Councilor Al Victor Espino, chairman of the Committee on Laws.
Councilors Renecito Novero, Em Legaspi-Ang and Celia Matea Flor, who were also in favor of authorizing Benitez to file the application with the PRA, expressed reservations regarding the mention of the BRGC in the P4 resolution.
Espino said the request for authority is granted, in lieu of a Resolution of No Objection (RONO), provided that the city will not endorse any project proponent. That the partner of the city in the reclamation project should have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications, and that there should be no questions as to the propriety of ownership in so far as the officers and major stockholders of the partner company is concerned.*