By: Morexette Marie B. Erram – CDN Digital | July 10,2020 – 12:29 PM
CEBU CITY, Philippines – A proposal to reclaim land up to 1,500 hectares in the fishing town of Cordova on Mactan Island, Cebu will push through.
This after local officials announced that SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPH) renewed their commitment to invest in Cordova town during an online meeting with them and officers from concerned government agencies last Thursday, July 9, 2020.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPH) is the real-estate arm of SM Investments Corporation, which is founded by the late tycoon Henry Sy.
Cordova is a third-class municipality that borders Lapu-Lapu City on the south of Mactan Island. It owns around 3,500 hectares of foreshore land, making it one of the biggest seagrass beds in the country.
Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho, in a phone interview with CDN Digital, confirmed that consultants from SMPH informed the municipal government of their plans to proceed to the detailed engineering design (DED) stage of the project.
“During the meeting, SM asked permission and approval from the local government, DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and PRA (Philippine Reclamation Authority) to bid the DED to a contractor,” said Cho in a mix of English and Cebuano.
READ MORE: A long way to go for Cordova reclamation
The project, according to local officials of Cordova, is targeted to be completed by 2028 and is composed of four artificially-made islands with a total land area of 1,500 hectares.
It will soon be developed into an integrated ‘world-class lifestyle’ destination featuring a cruise terminal, marina, beach, eco-parks, golf course, churches, retail centers, civic centers, cultural centers, and promenades with inland transportation consisting of buses and a train with a railroad.
The project, which is pegged to estimate billions, will be done through a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, said Cho.
“The area where it will be built is near 10,000 Roses Cafe and the third Cebu – Mactan bridge that faces Cebu City,” she said in Cebuano.
The mayor also said they are projecting that actual civil works for the multi-billion project, whose rough estimates are yet to be determined, to start within 2022 to 2023.
Cho added that further consultation, particularly with Cordova’s fishing communities, are needed before the proponents can proceed with the construction.
“Part of the agreement says there should be coordination not only with the LGU (local government unit) but also with the people,” said Cho.
“So every time they present the design, we have to consult our constituents, particularly our fishermen who, undeniably, will be affected by this project,” she added.
According to the mayor, fisher folks of Cordova are urging the local government and developers of the project to ensure their fishing routes will stay open, and that the town’s mangrove areas will not be severely impacted.
A Project Description Report (PDR) from the Environmental Impact Assessment team of the Environmental Management Bureau (EIA – EMB) identified the coastal barangays of Alegria, Bangbang, Buagsong, Catarman, Cogon, Dapitan, Day-as, Ibabao, Gabi, Gilutongan, Pilipog, Poblacion and San Miguel will be affected by the reclamation.
EIA-EMB defines reclamation as the ‘deliberate process of converting foreshore land, submerged areas or bodies of water into land by filling or other means using dredge fill and other suitable materials for specific purposes’.
Under the law, a proposed reclamation project would have to be supported by an area clearance, a feasibility study, an environmental impact statement and environment compliance certificate (ECC), and local government resolutions posing no objection to the project, among others. / bmjo