Philip­pines nixes Trump as­so­ciate’s project

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

MANILA:

Philip­pine en­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cials have can­celed a com­pli­ance cer­tifi­cate for a hous­ing project by Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s busi­ness as­so­ciate, say­ing it would en­dan­ger a wa­ter­shed that sup­plies drink­ing wa­ter to 12 mil­lion peo­ple. Cen­tury Com­mu­ni­ties Corp. seeks to put up the 58-hectare hous­ing project within the 2,000-hectare La Mesa Wa­ter­shed in the cap­i­tal. It is the source of met­ro­pol­i­tan Manila’s drink­ing wa­ter.

“That’s the wa­ter­shed of 12 mil­lion peo­ple and I can­not see the pos­si­bil­ity that a busi­ness in­ter­est is more im­por­tant than the wa­ter our peo­ple drink,” said En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Regina Lopez.

The cer­tifi­cate is­sued by the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion has been can­celed be­cause of sci­en­tific rec­om­men­da­tion against any kind of de­vel­op­ment in­side the wa­ter­shed, she said.

The com­pany was founded by Jose EB An­to­nio, named by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte in Oc­to­ber as a spe­cial en­voy to the United States. It is a sub­sidiary of Cen­tury Prop­er­ties Group Inc. that An­to­nio chairs and which has part­nered with Trump for the brand­ing of the posh Trump Tower in Manila. The tower is ex­pected to be com­pleted next year.

The com­pany said yesterday it would wait for of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the En­vi­ron­ment De­part­ment be­fore is­su­ing a state­ment.

The project’s con­struc­tion has not yet started. Of­fi­cials said some con­di­tions stip­u­lated in the cer­tifi­cate were not ful­filled, in­clud­ing a hy­dro­log­i­cal study be­cause the de­part­ment’s team was not al­lowed in­side the project site.

A tree-cut­ting per­mit for the project could also not be is­sued be­cause a 2007 pres­i­den­tial procla­ma­tion that es­tab­lished a reser­va­tion in the wa­ter­shed would not al­low it, they added. The cer­tifi­cate is a re­quire­ment for a project with po­ten­tial sig­nif­i­cant im­pact to the en­vi­ron­ment. — AP

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