Ciudad developer gets ECC bid rejected anewBy Jessa Chrisna Marie J. Agua
Cebu Daily News
THE developer of the Ciudad project in barangay Apas, Cebu City said they were surprised that they weren’t issued a hard copy of a letter denying their project’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) application.
“Rep. Tomas Osmeña got one while we haven’t received one as of yesterday. It’s amazing how a hand-delivered copy was given to his office and none was sent to us,” Fifth Avenue spokesman Jonji Gonzales said.
Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district spearheaded the local opposition to the Capitol-led Ciudad project claiming that it would only aggravate traffic in the area.
Gonzales said he only read a scanned copy of the letter stamped “received” June 21 by Osmeña’s office.
In the June 20 letter, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) confirmed the rejection of Fifth Avenue’s ECC application.
EMB-7 Regional Director Fernando P. Quililan said they denied Fifth Avenue’s ECC application for their failure to secure a tree cutting permit as part of their requirements due to the “numerous trees” to be affected by their project.
Quililan also pointed to a recent memorandum by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) suspending the issuance of tree cutting permits as another reason for their rejection of Fifth Avenue’s ECC application.
The letter was addressed to Fifth Avenue Property Development Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mr. Michael Lloyd Dino dated June 20 and released on the same day.
Gonzales said a Fifth Avenue staffer called the EMB office to ask for their copy of the letter and was told that it was faxed to them.
“We checked with our staff if they received a letter from EMB. There was none,” he said.
Quililan neither confirmed nor denied that the developer was given a copy.
“If the letter is addressed to them, then they should be given a copy,” he said.
The offices of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama were sent copies. Cebu Daily News received a scanned copy and asked Quililan to verify its authenticity.
“Yes, that is true. Their ECC application was denied,” Quililan said in a phone interview.
Gonzales said the ECC was “management tool” to ensure that one’s project will protect the environment and not a permit, and is needed before development permits are issued. He said requiring tree cutting permits for the issuance of an ECC is rather “unusual” since it is usually issued after approval of the application.
In a statement, Fifth Avenue said the Capitol applied for the tree cutting permit being the land owner.