MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) will bid out the P54.5 billion reclamation project along Manila Bay, even though Pasay City has already entered into a joint venture with the SM group for the project.
In a statement, PRA said the Pasay City government and SM Land have not submitted the required validating opinion from the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the proposed reclamation project.
"An opinion from either of the two agencies is not a regular requirement but was required otherwise due to the numerous issues raised by other challengers on the bidding process conducted by Pasay City," PRA said.
The PRA said it has received the reclamation project proposal from the Pasay city government, but it has not started its regular approval process due to the lack of validating opinion.
"Assuming the DOJ or the DILG issues a legal opinion in favor of Pasay City, only then shall the process commence," it said.
The Pasay-SM proposal would undergo a five-stage approval process, which would involve technical evaluation by PRA and an approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Aquino.
Under Executive Order No. 146, all reclamation projects including the 300-hectare Pasay City reclamation project will be subject to a public bidding.
"If it gets through these two major stages, the proposal will have to undergo a competitive bidding process to be undertaken by the PRA," it added.
Meanwhile, Pasay City said it would comply with the PRA requirements.
"We will comply with the requirements imposed by PRA," Severo Madrona Jr., chief legal officer and vice chairman of the public private partnership - selection committee of Pasay City.
Last December, SM Land finally received the go-signal from the Pasay City Council for the project, which had faced challenges from rival Ayala Land and other interested groups.
The project involves the reclamation and development of approximately 300 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. SM will undertake and fully finance the project, including all the costs of all the necessary permits and clearances from government agencies and the expenses to comply with all the government and legal requirements.