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City Council hears BREDCO-APDC reclamation area row

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• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

BREDCO consultant Joselito Bayatan and, at right, Silverio Sorbito, APDC legal counsel*

The chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Laws will prepare a report on the committee hearing conducted yesterday on the request of ALMANA Property Development Corp. (APDC) to deny the resolution of no objection (RONO) requested by BREDCO to reclaim for its expansion, an additional 25 hectares at the Reclamation Area.

Councilor Al Victor Espino yesterday said the hearing was conducted to listen to both sides and to resolve the matter soon, so not only will both corporations benefit, but also the people of Bacolod who avail of the services of BREDCO and the reclamation area.

“We need to seek a middle ground as we saw both stands of the proponents,” Espino said, adding that the RONO is only the first step in a very long process. After this has returned to the SP and the city, this is when they will craft a tripartite agreement between the proponent, the city, and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).

Silverio Sorbito IV, APDC legal counsel, stressed that it is their position that BREDCO should not be granted a RONO since it will violate the right of APDC. Under the law, it is APDC that has preferential right to develop or reclaim the area being disputed, being the owner of the adjacent lots which it bought in 2012 from Bacolod Coastal Ventures Corp. (BCVC), then represented by the late Simplicio Palanca.

Sorbito said it is stipulated in the contract that BREDCO will not reclaim that area. But after BREDCO learned that APDC had an unsolicited proposal for the development of the area, they applied for a RONO in the guise of “re-engineering/re-planning” of its port operations at the Bacolod Reclamation Area.

However, BREDCO consultant Joselito Bayatan said the BCVC and BREDCO are different entities. BREDCO can reclaim because before APDC bought the property from BCVC, it was covered by the Comprehensive Revised Reclamation Agreement (CRRA).

Bayatan said their proposed expanded project of 25 hectares is covered by the CRRA. And if the project pushes through, the city will be entitled to its shares because under the CRRA, it has 10 percent of the open spaces.

The CRRA is intended for the development of Bacolod City. They need to expand the port in order to expand their exchange of goods and services, as well as trade and industry. There is nothing illegal on the part of BREDCO and that they are being monitored by the PRA every three months, with the participation of the city, he said.

Meanwhile, Sorbito said they are hoping that the SP will resolve the issues before considering granting BREDCO the RONO.

Under the 2012 deed of absolute sale, APDC was given assurance that no reclamation works will be ever undertaken on the existing bay or seafront adjacent to the subject parcels of land in order to maintain its value and desirability. APDC, on the other hand, will not engage in any port operations on the property.*

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