'No midnight deal': Dumaguete City mayor denies financial interest in reclamation project
MANILA - Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo on Friday said he does not have personal dealings with the proponent of a reclamation project in the city.
He maintained that he only knew of EM Cuerpo Inc. when the company submitted its unsolicited proposal for the project in November 2019.
"I have no dealings with them previously. Contrary to those coming out on Facebook, not a single government official has benefited from this personally," he told ANC's Headstart.
"I have no financial interest, whether directly or indirectly. It is just an academic thing," he said.
The local chief executive said he believes the project would be "sustainable and a solution to the poverty of the people of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental."
Remollo said a "mini" version of Bonifacio Global City could not be built in empty lands within Dumaguete as these parcels of land are owned by a handful of families who may not sell at low prices. Expropriating these would also take years and would be a "burden to the city."
"There should be a reasonable, equitable balance between economic growth and the preservation, protection of the environment. It can only be threshed out if the proponent would come out with its plans. We would criticize, oppose those plans because it is my opinion that reclamation per se is not harmful; it can be mitigated," he said.
Insinuations that the project is being rushed as he finishes his term as mayor are "the product of a malicious mind," said Remollo as he also maintained that this is "not a midnight deal."
He said the memorandum of understanding has not yet been signed, but stipulates that if the project is disapproved by the national agencies, the "parties release each other of obligations."
The proposed reclamation project is for the construction of a "smart city" under a private-public partnership. It has been opposed by various sectors, and Remollo said all these comments will be submitted to the approving agencies. He said the city will further discuss the project with the stakeholders once the proponent submits its detailed plans.