Dad eyes leased recreation zones to break the impasse

The local government of Davao City is eyeing a recreation zone along the Times Beach area as a remedy for resort owners with pending reclamation permits to operate their businesses.
City Councilor Arnulfo Cabling said the lawyers of Emar’s Wave Pool, a beach and pool resort located at Times Beach has manifested to the City Council of the owners’ proposal to simply lease the property from the City Government. The owners initially offered a lease rate of P120 per square meter annually.
Cabling, guesting at Kapihan sa SM Davao at Cafe Rhysus last Feb. 13 said they had referred the proposal to the appraisal board at City Hall as the City Council has no expertise on land valuation. If the appraisal board comes up with a finding, they are looking for a council resolution which would authorize the city nayor to sign a lease contract with the owners of Emar’s and also with Queensland which also has a pending reclamation controversy.
The mayor’s office enforced a closure order against Emar’s Wavepool last December after it failed to secure a business permit. The 15th City Council also denied the resort’s application for reclamation and directed the resort to first secure a permit from the Philippine Reclamation Authority.
Cabling said the application at the PRA has been moving at a snail’s-pace. However, everything will still end up ultimately with the the city government as the PRA would simply turn over the application of Emars to the city. Cabling said they are eyeing for the city to just lease the area to the resort.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it could not also enter into a lease agreement with the company as Presidential Proclamation No. 20 signed by President Ramon Magsaysay in 1954 gave the area to the city as a reservation area for recreational purposes.
Cabling said that they are also looking to repeal the resolution in the last Council which mandates the company to endorse the reclamation project to the PRA.
He said that the resorts would still fit the purpose as recreational areas as embodied in the provisions of the Magsaysay law and that they could require certain conditions, like solid waste management, liquid waste management, environmental rehabilitation and monitoring of the compliance.
Emars Wavepool occupies about five to 10 hectares while Queensland is a three to five5 hectares of reclaimed property. The reclamation projects were done without permit from the PRA and despite issuances of cease-and-desist orders from the city government. [PIA 11/RG Alama]