(GOLF COURSE SALE PLAN) Contrary to law, Lobregat on TIEZA consultant’s statement PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 October 2015 12:03

by Jubels Santos

 

“The consultant’s statement made during the hearing of the Sangguniang Panlungsod is contrary to law.”

This is the sharp reaction of  District 1 House Representative Celso L. Lobregat to the statement of Jacinto D. Rosario, Jr. of Chadaro Consortium who said during his presentation that the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), as owner of Zamboanga Golf and Beach Park, can do anything it wants with the property without consultation/approval of the local government unit (LGU) concerned.

TIEZA through its consultant Chadaro Consortium, made a presentation before the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) on October 27, 2015 regarding the proposed privatization/sale of Zamboanga Golf and Beach Park.

Congressman Lobregat said in his reaction that TIEZA is not a private corporation, but a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC). Lobregat cited RA 9593 or “The Tourism Act of 2009” and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). In fact it is RA 9593 which created TIEZA. Lobregat said that the law provides that consultation/coordination with the LGU is needed for any development plan in the Tourism Enterprise Zones (TEZs).

Based on the IRR of RA 9593, in Section 57 Powers and Functions of the TIEZA Board, it is stated in letter J:

“Construct, own or lease, operate and maintain infrastructure facilities or enter into joint ventures, and grant franchises for and supervise the operation of public utilities within TEZs, in coordination with LGUs and agencies concerned.”

Further in the said IRR, Section 73 Development Plan provides “No TEZ shall be designated without a development plan duly approved by the TIEZA and without the prior approval, by resolution, of the concerned municipality or city.”

With said provisions, Lobregat stressed that the sale of the Zamboanga Golf and Beach Park in effect would need approval, by a resolution from the City Council.

Lobregat also said that the law itself (RA 9593) which created TIEZA has many provisions which mandate coordination with the LGUs. Said provisions are found in the following:

Chapter II – Tourism Governance, the Department of Tourism under Sec. 6 Powers and Functions is mandated to:

(I) Formulate and promulgate, in consultation with the LGUs, the private sector industries and other tourism stakeholders, rules and regulations governing the operation and activities of all tourism enterprises…;

(q) Delegate to regional offices, in coordination with LGUs, specific powers and functions in the implementation of tourism policies, plans and projects;

The Department of Tourism Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management, under SEC. 12( e) of RA 9593 is mandated to:

“Formulate, in coordination with the TIEZA, other government agencies and LGUs exercising political jurisdiction over the area, development plans for TEZs and integrating such plans with other sector plans for the area.”

Furthermore in said law, the Department of Tourism Office of Tourism Coordination, under SEC. 15 (a) is mandated to:

“Maintain close coordination with national government agencies, LGUs, NGOs and other private entities for the development and implementation of national tourism plans and policies.”

It is to be recalled that TIEZA and Chadaro Consortium made a presentation last August 24, 2015 regarding the proposed sale of the Zamboanga Golf and Beach Park to Representative Lobregat. After the presentation, Lobregat expressed his observations and objection to the sale of the said asset. TIEZA Assistant Chief Operating Officer Jetro Nicolas F. Lozada together with other TIEZA staff and Chadaro Consortium were present during the said meeting in Lobregat’s office last August 24, 2015.

In a letter dated August 28, 2015 by TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark T. Lapid, TIEZA thanked Lobregat for his time to listen to the update and presentation on the privatization plans for the Zamboanga Golf and Beach Park. They took note of his observations and objection to the sale of said asset, and may consider possibly a lease mode of privatization. In said letter, TIEZA told Lobregat that they informed the management, SBAC and the TIEZA Board about this and they have deferred or taken out Zamboanga Golf and Beach Park from the list of assets for privatization.

Lobregat replied to the said letter in a communication dated October 6, 2015 and also asked TIEZA to include him should there be further consultations/presentations to the City Council, business leaders and other stakeholders.

TIEZA, in its letter dated October 12, 2015, informed Lobregat that they will present before the City Council on October 27. On October 26, 2015, through a letter from Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Lobregat was invited to the City Council’s Regular Session. — Jubels Santos