Council: No to selling of Golf Club to private firm PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 11:58

by Bhong Simbajon

 

The City Council on Tuesday expressed total opposition to the proposed privatization of the 82-hectare Zamboanga City Golf Course and Country Club which is under the administration of the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Vice-Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Council presiding officer, and Councilor Charlie Mariano, Majority Floor Leader, led the 18 council members in opposing the TIEZA plan to privatize the historic golf course which is one of Zamboanga City’s tourism landmarks.

Mariano said the plan is untimely and should not be carried out because of the golf course’s heritage and economic enterprise. Moreover,  the golf course, particularly its beach has become a part of the lives Zamboangeños who make the place a weekend getaway.

District 1 House Rep. Celso Lobregat was first to voice out a strong opposition to the proposal during the budget deliberations for TIEZA in Congress.

The city councilors said they are one with Lobregat and the entire city officials in recognizing  the importance of the golf course.

Lobregat’s strong opposition on the matter during the congressional budget prompted TIEZA to remove the Zamboanga Golf Course and Country Club from its list of properties set for privatization.

However, TIEZA’s move has not convinces city that the agency would not push through with its plan as it still sent its privatization consultant to Zamboanga City to conduct ocular inspection, evaluation and seek the opinions of city officials from the city mayor down to inform them of the forthcoming privatization of the said property.

Mr. Jojo Rosario, consultant from private firm  Chadoro Consortium, appeared at the city council and revealed the proposed privatization of the golf course and its future conversion into a Tourism Economic Zone (TEC) with all its amenities and improvements upon the completion and realization of the proposed but-out of a private corporation.

The revelations of Rosario surprised the city officials who, for the first time, heard about the said proposal and the move of TIEZA.

Rosario admitted that he has already talked to Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar and briefed her about the plan and the lady mayor has certain conditions pending its privatization like the preservation of the Muslim cemetery inside the golf beach, disposition of the settlers squatting inside the said property as well as the environmental concerns.

Councilors Mel Sadain, Juan Climaco Elago,Jawo Jimenez and Mike Alavar who have seen in the presentation of Mr. Rosario for the first time the proposed blue print for the pending privatization, expressed disgust over the move for the so-called “disrespect” and setting aside the due courtesy to the city government of Zamboanga with regards to their plans, saying that as if TIEZA has under-estimated and ignored the position of the people of Zamboanga,

It is for the same reasons that collectively, the members of the city council yesterday ruled, thru a resolution to ask TIEZA to shelf or hold in abeyance the proposed sell or privatization of the Zamboanga Golf Cource and Country Club until such time that a proper consultation with the city government and other stakeholders is done collectively to include the compelling justifications for its sale or disposition with the information that the August body reserves its official stand thereon until all issues are resolved.

The council also asked the two house representatives of the city to make necessary representations in Congress to pass an amendatory law that LGU consultations and approval are needed in all privatization moves of  government agencies. — Bhong Simbajon/RMN News