Tuesday, November 25, 2008

8 Councilors Say NO To PALC For Shrine Hills Developer

The eight “conscience votes” from Davao City councilors failed to stop the approval of the Preliminary Application and Location Clearance or PALC for the Crown Communities and DM Consunji development project in Shrine Hills.

Among those who voted NO to the PALC application are Councilors Rachel Zozobrado, Pilar Braga, Karlo Bello, Teresita Marañon, Angela LIbrado, Susabel Reta, Louie Villafuerte and Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz. Councilors Danny Dayanghirang and Halila Sudagar abstained while 13 voted yes for the PALC.

“The issues raised have gone beyond mere legalities and zoning,” Councilor Rachel Zozobrado said. “I am not convinced by what was presented and I still have doubts as to its safety considering that Datu Luho creek is already stretched to its maximum capacity and they did not present any alternative,” she added.

Councilor Pilar Braga said it has always been her position that Shrine Hills should be a protected area. “It should not be pressured with development to preserve it as the emerald jewel of Davao City.” Instead of a housing development, why not make it a nature park, she said.

“The safety of the Maa residents should also be top priority and I believe that no mitigating measure in the future could give the assurance of safety to the people living downhill,” Braga said.

The approval of the PALC for the DM Consunji development project has been delayed for weeks already due to the ongoing debate in the Council as to the safety of the project.

Maa residents, who cited the Cherry Hill incident, have also expressed their opposition to the project for fear that it will result to more flooding and landslides in the area. Maa is located just below the Shrine Hills and any earth movement will affect the various subdivisions located downhill.

The residents however said they are not against the development per se provided an independent study of the stability of the slope is conducted. They are also asking the developer to present a drainage alternative considering that the Datu Luho creek is already congested resulting to flooding in the area whenever it rains.

Councilor Danny Dayanghirang said the Zoning Ordinance classifies the area as residential so he sees no problem with the PALC approval.

“The applicants have already complied with the requirements,” councilor Peter Laviña said. Laviña, who voted yes, said “I believe that all the engineering measures are available to address the concerns about the project.”

Just like Laviña, Councilor Victorio Advincula also said all the issues taken during the sessions are best discussed during the application for a development permit.

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