DAVAO CITY — Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city government has terminated the joint venture agreement (JVA) with Mega Harbour Port Development, Inc. in connection with the latter’s unsolicited proposal for a P40-billion reclamation project.

Davao-Coastline-project_072617
An artist rendition of The Davao Coastline and Port Development Project — the joint venture between the Davao city government and developer Mega Harbour Port Development, Inc.

In a statement, Ms. Carpio said, “On July 19, 2017, we communicated to Mega Harbour Port Development our decision not to proceed with the Davao Coastline and Development Project.”

The JVA was signed in June last year by then-mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, the incumbent mayor’s father, just before he assumed office as the country’s President.

Ms. Carpio said the decision to abort the contract “came about after more than a year of careful review and study of the available documents and after weighing out the intentions of the project against its commercial viability, legal and social implications, and the project’s possible effects on the environment.”

“Our decision to terminate the joint venture agreement is coupled with a resolve that Davao City can really move forward and answer the call of economic growth by implementing highly sustainable projects, both commercially and environmentally,” she added.

Upon taking office last year, the mayor hired independent consultants to undertake a review of the JVA and the project plan, which involved the development of four islands covering 200 hectares from the Sta. Ana Wharf to the Bucana area for an international port and a mixed-use complex with commercial, residential and government office components.

Earlier this year, Mega Harbour, owned by businessman Reghis M. Romero II, agreed to the city government’s request “for better terms” under the contract, particularly a bigger land share for the government complex.

In a Feb. 21 letter to Mega Harbour, the mayor acknowledged the expanded offer and said it will be submitted to the “technical advisers for further study.”

In her statement yesterday, Ms. Carpio said the city government is prepared to answer for the “various legal repercussions” that will accompany the JVA’s termination.

Mega Harbour officials could not be immediately reached for comment yesterday.

In April, the company released a report saying that its technical studies showed encouraging results about the projects as “nothing goes adversely beyond the norm, except for the abrupt steepening of the slope of the sea bed, which can raise the cost of reclamation significantly because of the length of concrete piles that it entails and various other structural requirements.”

The company also said that there are “sea grass and corals in the area near the Sta. Ana wharf, which we will have to avoid by moving the project site further southward.” — Carmelito Q. Francisco