By Jose Santino Bunachita
CEBU CITY (January 18, 2023) — Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin N. Garcia today lamented the current impasse over the Compania Maritima property near City Hall, just as it is already being developed.
In a privilege speech in this afternoon’s City Council session, he said it was the City Government that exerted efforts to improve the state of the century-old property, which has been left unattended for decades.
“Thanks to our City’s administrators and partners who put a concerted effort to preserve, conserve, and protect all that which enhances the City’s character as a jewel of culture and heritage,” he said.
Garcia, who is the chairperson of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC), said the city recognizes the significance of the Compania Maritima.
Among others, he said, it is a neoclassical structure, built in 1910, and comparable to renaissance palazzos in Europe. It was also part of the emergence of Cebu as a trading hub during the American Commonwealth period.
The vice mayor, who also heads the Cebu City Waterfront Development Commission, mentioned that the property is highlighted in the 2000 Cebu Waterfront Heritage and Urban Conservation Study.
“The Compaña Maritima possesses aesthetic and urban value as a prominent ornate building associated with the development of the Cebu Port area at the turn of the 20th century,” read the study.
With these in mind, Vice Mayor Garcia said the City Government took an active role in the administration of the property.
It also became part of the Carbon Market Redevelopment Project, which includes the establishment of the “Puso Village” located right beside the property.
But the opening of Puso Village, which is supposed to feature Best of Cebu products, had to be put on hold after the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) asserted its rights over the property.
“How dastardly is the act of scuttling an initiative that would have given an opportunity for Cebu City waterfront tourism to flourish?” Vice Mayor Garcia said in his speech.
“How dastardly is the act of hampering a project that supports an industry that can provide better job opportunities for coastal communities, and an avenue for people to work in a decent and empowering environment that enhances their quality of life,” he added.
How dastardly is the act of scuttling an initiative that would have given an opportunity for Cebu City waterfront tourism to flourish?Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin N. Garcia
The CPA earlier plastered tarpaulins over the property showing a writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City that prohibits the City from occupying any portion of the property.
It also stationed 24 security guards around the property to keep the City from taking control of the structure.
The council agreed to give the Office of the Mayor and the City Legal Office a copy of the vice mayor’s privilege speech. #