By Carmencita A. Carillo, Correspondent

SC orders DoTC to comment on Sasa Port

Posted on April 19, 2016

DAVAO CITY -- The Supreme Court (SC) has asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) to comment on the Writ of Kalikasan petition being sought against the P19-Billion Sasa Port public-private partnership (PPP) project.

Sasa Port
“The Supreme Court ruling is for DoTC to comment on the petition for the Writ within 10 days from receipt,” lawyer Harry L. Roque, counsel for the petitioners of the Writ of Kalikasan, told BusinessWorld.

The SC heard the petition, filed on March 15, during its session in Baguio City last week.

Among the petitioners are former and incumbent members of the Davao City council, a consumer rights advocate, the Samal Island Resort Owners Association, and the Kadamay Urban Poor Network.

“We are seeking a Writ of Kalikasan for the failure of the national government to seek the consent of the people and for not complying with environmental laws,” Mr. Roque said.

Mr. Roque said the group is confident that their case is strong with precedent from a case in Boracay.

“We are confident that we will get the Writ. There is a precedent in the Boracay case where the Supreme Court stopped a reclamation project and said that everything that has a likelihood to increase pollution should come with a certificate of no objection from the local government,” Mr. Roque said.

“If we go by precedent, the court should approve this,” he added.

The Boracay case involved the Boracay Foundation, Inc. vs the Philippine Reclamation Authority and the provincial government of Aklan over the Aklan Beach Zone Restoration and Protection Marina Development Project, which would have covered the reclamation and development of about 40 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas in Malay town.

The local government of Malay opposed the project.

The petitioners in the Sasa Port case have also written to the four pre-qualified bidders not to pursue their bids.

“We appeal to your sense of fairness and justice. We are afraid, you will eventually be holding the proverbial empty bag if you pursue this bid. You will be facing unnecessary problems for a project that is certain to be a white elephant and a subject of troublesome litigation,” the petitioners said in their letter.

“We ask you to withdraw your bids and join our call for the review of this project and let the next administration pursue it,” the petitioners added.

The four bidders are: Asian Terminals, Inc.-DP World FZE Consortium, Bollore Africa Logistics, International Container Terminal Services, Inc., San Miguel Holdings Corp.-APM Terminals Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd. Consortium with Hyundai Development Company and Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. as contractors.

Singapore-based Portek International Pte. Ltd. has withdrawn from the bidding.