Ayala Land withdraws P6-B Negros projectBy Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY—Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has withdrawn its P6-billion development plan for the 7.7-hectare provincial government property in Bacolod City, Gov. Alfredo Marañon announced Friday.
Marañon said he received on Thursday a letter from Ayala Land senior vice president Emilio Tumbocon informing him that the company would no longer pursue the project awarded to it by the provincial government on July 20, 2011.
“After more than a year since the property was awarded to Ayala Land for development, we regret that we are unable to pursue the project on account of the delays and legal disputes that continue to threaten its implementation, through no fault of Ayala Land,” Tumbocon wrote.
Marañon said that until Thursday, the Commission on Audit (COA) has not issued a ruling on the Capitol’s deed of conditional sale and contract of lease of the property to ALI, which it submitted for review in July last year.
Rolando Macale, head of the COA Public Information Office, confirmed on Sept. 4 that a decision on the Ayala project had been reached by the commission proper in mid-August. However, Macale said he had no information on the details of the decision from the office of COA Chair Ma. Gracia Pulido Tan. Macale said all requests for contact with members of the press and their agencies, including for interviews, publicity or responding to publicity, should be addressed to the Public Information Office.
Tan, in a text message reply to an Inquirer query last week, said she had inhibited from any decision regarding the project and urged that any question be addressed to the commission secretariat. Tan had inhibited herself from deciding on the Negros Occidental provincial government’s sale of its property to ALI because the law firm of her husband represented the Sy family of the SM group.
“Considering that the provincial government has been unable to fulfill its obligation to deliver the property to us under the terms of agreement, we are open to discussing with you a mutual disengagement from the project,” Tumbocon said in his letter to the governor. However, he told the governor that ALI remained committed to investing in Negros Occidental. ALI has a 200-hectare North Point in Talisay City, a mixed-used development project.
Jorge Miguel Marco, ALI corporate communications head, said in August last year that they planned to develop the 7.7-hectare property of the Capitol into an integrated mixed-used civic and commercial district that was envisioned to become the new growth center of Metro Bacolod and Negros Occidental.
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