Corporate News

By Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter

SM’s Cordova project faces delay

Posted on May 10, 2016

THE SM Group’s P138-billion reclamation project in Cordova, Cebu is now facing delay after the country’s reclamation authority said it did not follow the correct process.

The tandem of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. -- the property arm of retail tycoon Henry S. Sy, Sr. -- and the municipality of Cordova was set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) on April 24 for the 1,500-hectare project.

Asked if it pushed through, PRA Assistant General Manager for Reclamation and Regulation Joselito D. Gonzales said: “No.”

“We found out that Cordova and SM immediately formed a joint venture, but under the Local Government Code, municipalities do not have the authority to reclaim, only the city and the province do,” he said in an interview last Friday in Parañaque City.

To correct this, Cordova would need to partner with the province of Cebu, which in turn will seek approval from the PRA.

However, the process may be delayed as the PRA awaits guidance from the new administration, which takes over on June 30.

Aabutan na ng bagong administration (The new administration is about to take over) and we don’t know what will be the policies,” Mr. Gonzales said.

Mr. Gonzales said he has received feedback that both SM and Cordova are “willing to correct the process.”

“I presume, if delay is inevitable, then they are still willing,” he added.

Sought for comment, Cordova Mayor Adelino B. Sitoy said in a mobile phone reply on Monday: “No problem. Corrections will follow. Schedule can be adjusted.”

Mr. Sitoy said it will take eight years to finish the project, but there is no starting date yet

SM has yet to issue a statement when sought for comment.

Aside from the Cordova project, the conglomerate also operates SM Seaside Cebu, a 30-hectare master-planned development on the reclaimed South Road Properties. Last November, the company opened SM Seaside City Cebu, its biggest mall outside Metro Manila. The development will also feature a five-star hotel, convention center, high-rise office, residential buildings, and an events center.

SM also bagged separate contracts to reclaim and develop around 300 hectares each along Manila Bay under the jurisdiction of the cities of Pasay and Parañaque for P54.5 billion and P50.19 billion, respectively.