Davao dads reject DOTC port project
DAVAO CITY—The city council is standing pat on its opposition to an P18.9-billion project to modernize the Sasa Port here, which is being implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
The council is anticipating that a case would be filed against it over its position on the project, but Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said councilors are ready to face any suit and would not back down.
“We will not budge,” said Dayanghirang.
One of the biggest reasons for the council’s opposition to the project, he said, is the lack of consultation by project proponents with the council and other local officials.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte supports the council’s position.
“You have to get the comment of no objection or the stand of the city government as articulated through the city council, and in this case, wala (nothing), so you run the risk of getting into trouble,” Duterte said of the project proponents’ supposed failure to consult the local government about the project.
The city council passed a resolution last month expressing opposition to the port modernization project.
Dayanghirang said the city council was also offended by the DOTC’s rudeness when it refused to discuss details of the project with councilors.
Had DOTC been courteous enough to consult the council, Dayanghirang said they would have asked why the project’s cost was several times more than that for the modernization of the Davao International Container Terminal (DICT) in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Peter Lavina, former councilor, earlier questioned the cost of the Sasa Port project, saying it was six times the cost of the DICT, now the country’s most modern port, which cost only P2.7 billion to build.
According to Lavina, now one of Duterte’s closest aides, the Philippine Ports Authority prepared a study that placed the cost of the Sasa Port modernization at P4 billion.
When the plan reached the DOTC, however, the cost escalated to P18.9 billion, according to Lavina. At least P17 billion of the projected cost would be for the modernization plan itself while P1.9 billion would be for road right-of-way expenses.
Dayanghirang said the Senate is expected to start an investigation once it receives a certification from the city council of councilors’ objection to the project. Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao